Héctor Fernández Martín/Vetges tu I Mediterrania, Arquitectos PRODUCTION CENTRE FOR VALENCIAN TELEVISION

(Valencia, Spain) 1986-89

On the plains of Burjassot, close to Valencia's trade fair centre and the university campus, rises the Production Centre of Valencian Television. It is a striking project born on a site typical of the Mediterranean urban periphery, demonstrating negligence, avarice and poverty of ideas, accentuated here by the presence of an exceptional physiognomy of the natural setting.

The complex covers 15,000 square metres and accommodates management and administration facilities, recording studios and a transmission tower. Its programme was determined by the requirements of high technology, as well as the demands of insulation, safety and security. Nevertheless, the Centre is notable for its inventiveness in overcoming conflicts related to meaning and culture, despite the constraints of its programme.

In the midst of scrap heaps and spoilage, the building succeeds in emerging as a memorable image. The coherence of its figure results to a great extent from the robust geometrical primitives employed: the triangle for the floor plan, the curve and the colossal arch counterpoised by the cylindrical glass vortex of the tower encased in a perforated prism. The unique achievement of the Centre is the reappropriation of the fragments of the landscape and their reconstitution into a coherent image through the way the elements of the abstract volumetric composition - triangle, curve, cylinder, parallelepipedes - fit into the sweeps and inflections of the site.

The effect is strengthened by the manner in which the complex of the building and its intricate relation with the contours of the site are recognized through the opportune placement of the elementary, purist volumes that make up the composition. As one approaches gradually from the highway and road, the volumes signal from afar, giving clues for a possible recognition of a well-formed spatial schema developed within severe site constraints. As one enters, the different elements of the building come together to form a unity that confirms this initial perception of a volumetric whole. This sense of unity is further emphasized by the building's detailing.

The composition is in many respects a typical functionalist assemblage, its articulated geometrical organization representing

(Below) Volumetric plan (Opposite)

(Top right) The wall, the arch and the screened round tower

(Below right) The screened tower

(Below left) View through the screens

(Above left) Beneath the arch of the wall, looking towards the screened tower the functional organization contained in the complex. Its spatial structure hints at the paradigm of the Russian Constructivist Ivan Leonidov in the way in which horizontal and vertical components interpenetrate. Yet the building is not a formalists, nostalgic replay. The basic difference lies in its conjunction with its context. Not only are the deformations of the profile of the site in constant dialogue with the allocation of the regular parts of the building, as in some later paintings by Lucas Samaras (Pace Gallery, November 1991), but the building's construction reflects the deeper character of its surroundings, distinguished by the misery of opportunistic interventions in the Mediterranean landscape. Thus the use of materials, rough industrial elements and the very processes of construction in their harshness do not attempt to obviate and beautify the damage done. They represent it critically, giving to the project a characteristic aura of 'dirty realism'.

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