A spatial intervention turns a Valencia convent into a cultural centre

Valencia – A minimal yet bold intervention by Francesc Rifé underlines the historic soul of Valencia's former San José convent to create a new space for culture, gastronomy and the exchange of ideas. The design focuses on a freestanding black metal frame that traces the envelope of the former 17th century church – now a multipurpose space – adding a new dimension, literally and figuratively, to the Renaissance space.

Designed as a ‘21st century sculpture’ to connect the past with the future, the frame is carefully inserted without touching the walls of the heritage-listed structure. Pragmatically, the freestanding frame cleverly integrates the audio-visual technical elements as well as the lighting system. At the intersection of the nave and transept, a new dome outlines the volume of the existing dome with three circles, highlighting the lead up to the altar/stage.

Top: A black, tunnel-like opening in the massive outer walls accentuates the experience of entering into a hidden realm. | Middle: The desacralized church has been transformed into a multipurpose space, with a system of RGB lighting and LED strips that dramatically changes the atmosphere to suit different events. | Bottom: By night, fairy lights transform the courtyard, where mobile food trucks can be easily relocated, to adapt to its different functions.

In contrast to the more solemn atmosphere of the church, the lively courtyard appears as a hidden oasis. Here, patrons can grab a bite from three food-truck like containers that serve an array of fusion cuisines, and different seating arrangements adapt to the terrain of the site. With this sensitive renovation, the convent becomes a new cultural hotspot in Valencia.


This project was featured in the latest volume of our hospitality-design series, Night Fever 6. Get your copy here.

Location Plaza Portal Nuevo, 6, 46003 Valencia, Spain

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