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Bombas Gens, a factory for art


8 July saw the inauguration in Valencia of the refurbishment of Bombas Gens, an industrial complex situated in the district of Marxalenes, which until recently was under the threat of disappearing. The original factory building was designed by the architect Cayetano Borso di Carminati, who left the stamp of his art deco phase on the façades of the access body situated on the chamfered corner of calle Reus with avenida Burjassot. The complex, in addition to this building parallel to the street, encompasses four units at the back laid out in an approximately perpendicular direction. Between both bodies, and making the most of part of one of the centrelines, is an irregularly shaped courtyard containing the monumental metallic chimneys stacks.

The complex was saved by the intervention of the Fundación Per Amor a l’Art (For the Love of Art Foundation), which bought the factory in 2014 to turn it into the headquarters of its social, cultural and research activities. The refurbishment and enlargement project to turn it into a culture centre was given to the architects Ramón Esteve (enlargement), Annabelle Selldorf (museum project) and Eduardo de Miguel (restoration).

The intervention consisted of refurbishing the central units and the façade body for use as an art centre, and the old management villa for the foundation’s headquarters. A further two volumes were also built for a restaurant and day care centre for children at risk of social exclusion respectively. The refurbishment works have also brought to light the remains of a 15th-century wine cellar and a civil war shelter, which were incorporated into the architectural project.

The aim that guided the actions was to achieve a harmonious ensemble in which both the new and the existing construction would share characteristics. In this, playing with the material on the exterior and the textures was especially important, since the use of brick and galvanised steel, which already played a major role in the factory’s image, has been extended to the newly-built bodies. The higher building intended for the day care centre has been situated next to the blocks of flats, in the place formerly occupied by a fifth unit of the factory complex, while the restaurant is in the opposite end, occupying the space down to the line of the street. The open-plan interiors typical of industrial architecture, which were blackened by use, are today luminous spaces for art and culture. Despite all the threats, Valencia has saved one of the best examples of its industrial architecture.


Avenida de Burjassot, 54
46009 Valencia. Spain

T/+34 963 463 856

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