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The University as a living monument

Main cloister, early       twentieth century 

Main cloister, early twentieth century

A considerable increase in the number of students at the beginning of the twentieth century made the shortcomings of the facilities evident, and some parts of the university building were remodelled to make new lecture rooms and the Law, Philosophy and Arts libraries. The new science laboratories, designed by Javier Goerlich who was in charge of building works until 1965, were built in the summer of 1931 above the main entrance, between the General Library and the Natural History Museum. However, the great fire in 1932 destroyed part of the building, including the new laboratories, the observatory and the museum.

In 1943-1944 the Ionic colonnade was built on the second floor of the main patio with a parapet of balusters and the crest that holds the clock. The marble staircase leading to the library from la Universidad street dates from 1948.

Final works on the University façade that gives on to the plaza del patriarca

University façad

Final works on the University façade that gives on to the plaza del patriarca

University façad

In 1954 all the constructions attached to the chapel wall and those set in the angle of the building up to the assembly hall were demolished when town planning actions were implemented to enlarge the Plaza del Patriarca and align the university façade that gives on to the square with the established building line. A new stretch of façade was built according to the same model used in the rest to complete the perimeter of the building. A fountain with statues by Octavio Vicent was added in 1964.

Although the Philosophy and Arts faculties moved to new buildings designed by the architect Moreno Barberá on the Blasco Ibañez campus in 1968, the old university facilities continued to be massively overcrowded during the ‘70s. The growing number of administrative departments occupied every available space and the building became seriously deteriorated.

An unfortunate reform was carried out in 1974 when the Faculty of Economics, the last educational institution located in the original Estudi General building, moved to new facilities; only two large stone arches were kept on the ground floor of the library that gives on to la Universidad street, in an area subsequently used for travelling exhibitions. The rectory was also reformed at the same time.

The re-establishment of university self-government in 1985 favoured the gradual restoration of the historic building, a valuable testimony to Valencian architecture over the last three centuries. The restoration of the university theatre and the works of art it holds finished in 1987, and work began to restore the badly deteriorated Sapiencia chapel, followed by a solemn opening ceremony in 1991. Finally, the building was totally reconditioned prior to the university’s five-hundredth anniversary in 1999 so that it would look superb for any cultural events held there, in the service of Valencia.

 

                                         

               La Nau Building

 

 

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