World Design Spotlight: «TEM»
22 Jun 2022 /

World Design Spotlight: «TEM»

Valencia is a Riverside city, crossed and conditioned since Roman times by the river Turia, but it is also a maritime city, with a seafront of seven kilometres of urban beaches just ten minutes from the city centre. This coastal area is the setting for the Cabanyal-Canyamelar neighbourhood, an independent municipality in the nineteenth century, named Pueblo Nuevo del Mar (El Poble Nou de la Mar), which became part of Valencia in 1900.

The coastal villages had been organized, since their origins in the 13th century, in shacks lined up in extremely long streets running parallel to the sea, forming a single urbanized area. A serious fire in the 18th century (1796) led to the replacement of those typical fishermen’s houses, which were very vulnerable, with properties of bricks and mortar. 

The constructional peculiarity of the maritime villages, with their mix of architectural styles and a proliferation of modernism and eclecticism, has been conserved until today despite plans for renovation that have set out to dismantle the neighbourhood and provide direct access to the sea, plans not executed after years of lawsuits and a strong social response (“Salvem el Cabanyal”, or “let’s save El Cabanyal”) which sought to preserve the unique personality of the neighbourhood. 

After being subjected to a full-scale renovation, one of the most emblematic buildings of El Cabanyal, the former Ateneo Musical del Puerto, now the Teatro El Musical (TEM), is one of the symbols of the recovery of the neighbourhood after decades of neglect. Of the original building, work of the architect Victor Gosálvez and in an extremely deteriorated state, it was only possible to save the main façade, which the architect Eduardo de Miguel reformulated in 2004 and placed on the cultural map of the city. 

The TEM thus recovered its importance in the neighbourhood and in the city and it became a space of reference, managed directly by the local authorities since 2015, offering a quality programme as well as activities for all the local residents.

Wood, concrete, marble and natural light were the ingredients combined by Eduardo de Miguel to create a unique building which has been rewarded, among others, by the Professional Association of Architects of the Valencian Community in 2004.

In the TEM, constructional solutions were adopted to attend to the configuration of the space in its relationship with light, seeking a contemporary response to the Mediterranean light that is so typical of the city. 

The architect Eduardo de Miguel is a reference in the interpretation of space and light, which he places at the nucleus of his intellectual discourse and his building proposals, following in the wake of his PhD supervisor, the maestro Juan Navarro Baldeweg. 

Constructional solutions were adopted to attend to the configuration of the space in its relationship with light, seeking a contemporary response to the Mediterranean light that is so typical of the city. 

Eduardo de Miguel, who graduated in architecture from the University of Navarra, with the Special Graduation Award, and completed a PhD in architecture at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, enlarged on his studies at the Real Academia de España in Rome, at the Centro di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio of Vicenza and at the School of Architecture of the University of Princeton.

He moved to Valencia in 1994 and is currently a professor at the Polytechnic University (UPV). He has received many awards for his work. Specifically, the Teatro El Musical (TEM) was finalist in the FAD Awards 2004 and the Klippan Award 2008 and was selected for the IX Biennale di Architettura di Venezia 2004.

The only element of the old TEM building that could be maintained is the façade overlooking the Plaza del Rosario, which is inspired by the classic model of the triumphal arch. This characteristic is accentuated with the introduction of a door with a sliding wooden panel that occupies the whole dimension of the central arch.

Eduardo de Miguel considered it necessary to maintain this element to preserve the character of the most emblematic urban space of the neighbourhood, which since then has hosted a civic centre, a multipurpose hall for music, theatre and public shows, with capacity for an audience of 400, and a service area.

Today, the TEM, with the highest door in the entire city, holds activities where the stage arts are the stars, and its aim is to feed and enrich the cultural and social fabric of the city in a space with brilliant architecture.


Photography: Mariela Apollonio (Architectural Photographer). TEM.