The Plaza del Pintor Andreu, in the limbo of urban planning | Radio Valencia | Present

Unfortunately, in Valencia, the difference between planning and the urban reality of the city is devastating. The greatest absurdities of the urban planning of the city are made evident in the seen dividing walls, in the unbalanced heights, in the facade lines and even in the names of the public roads. Streets that are avenues, avenues that are streets and squares that do not exist and will not already exist. A good example of the urban folly that characterizes our city can be found in the Malilla neighborhood, although bleeding cases can be found in any corner of Valencia. In Malilla, a relatively modern neighborhood, urbanistically speaking, two or three planning plans overlap without any of them taking its predecessor into account. For this reason, the seen dividing walls, the plots, the sectioned streets and the useless toponymy are the order of the day.

A practical and very illustrative example can be found in the Plaza del Pintor Andreu in the aforementioned neighborhood. According to the 1966 management plan, at the end of Calle del Ingeniero Joaquín Benlloch a large trapezoidal plaza was projected with a large central garden and on whose perimeter blocks of eight-storey houses were to be built. Under these parameters, in the 70s a couple of buildings were built in the middle of the orchard that were accessed by old rural paths, such as the Rocafull road or the Camí del Molí de la Fonteta. They were authentic urban islands between farmhouses and artichoke fields, a common landscape during the construction fever of the time. Without continuity with the existing urban fabric, these buildings were numbered and assigned to a public road that only existed on plan, in this case to a future large square that the council agreed to name as Plaza del Pintor Andreu, but that was never built and it disappeared from the 1988 management plan, leaving only the signs on the facades of those isolated buildings.

Indeed, as the labeling plates say, the phantom square was dedicated to the painter Teodoro Andreu Sentamans. Born in Alzira in 1870, at the age of two he was orphaned when his father drowned after one of the usual floods in the riverside town, and the Andreu family moved to Madrid, where Teodoro studied painting at the Escuela Superior de San Fernando, becoming the first disciple of the great Valencian master Joaquín Sorolla. From here, the career of the painter Andreu was dazzling. He cultivated with great skill the genre of portraiture and painting of the manners type, and his works received the highest distinctions in exhibitions in Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Paris and Valencia, where he won the Gold Medal of the Regional Exhibition of 1909. In 1914 he was named Professor of Painting in Santiago de Compostela, and in 1922 he managed to transfer to Valencia, where he was appointed director of the School of Applied Arts and Artistic Trades. Teodoro Andreu died in 1935, being recognized as one of the great representatives of the prolific Valencian school of painting for centuries. In 1970, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, various tributes were paid to him in Alzira and València, including the labeling of a square in Malilla that has never existed. A road that now, after fifty years, we hope will be readapted to the new urban reality of the neighborhood.

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