Premio COACV 1999-2000/1999-2000 COACV Prize
Publicaciones, trabajos de investigación y tesis doctorales/Publications, research papers and PhD Theses

Representación cónica del modelo tridimensional de un campanario teórico de planta cuadrada y remate "a tres niveles" trazado "a lo José Mínguez" / Top of the bell-tower of San Lorenzo, Valencia, 1743-1746 José Mínguez, arquitecto del s. XVIII; un modelo de campanario
José Minguez, 18th century architect; a bell-tower model

Francisco Juan Vidal
Portada del libro / Cover of  LOS CAMPANARIOS DE JOSÉ MÍNGUEZ. Valencia 1700-1750
Detalle del remate del campanario de San Valero de Ruzafa, 1736 - 1740 / Main façade and bell-tower of the church of the Asunción de Nuestra Señora, Foyos, 1730-1737 Cuerpo de remate del campanario de San Lorenzo de Valencia, 1743-1746 / Comparative study of the pinnacles of José Minguez’s five bell-towers, from the graphic documentation of the PhD Thesis, illustration XVI in the book Fachada del imafronte y campanario de la iglesia de la Asunción de Ntra. Sra. de Foyos, 1730-1737 / Conical representation of the three-dimensional model of a theoretical bell-tower with a square floor plan and ‘three-storey’ superstructure designed "in the style of José Mínguez"




There is a conviction that the PhD thesis of an architect should use DRAWING as the basic means of expression, analysis and research, in the same way that an ‘arts’ researcher uses words or a ‘science’ researcher uses experiments. The fact that in this case the doctorand is a lecturer in the Architectural Graphic Expression department of the Polytechnic University of Valencia increases the coherence of this argument, if such a thing were possible. Consequently this research was of an eminently graphical nature from the start.

The subject matter falls within the field of Valencia’s Architectural Heritage and centres on the study of the local bell-towers. The specific subject of research is a ‘model’ of bell-tower that was built in Valencia at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century and in every respect is one of the region’s most characteristic and truly vernacular architectural types.

Prior to this research, ‘Valencian bell-towers’ had been little studied and the few approaches to the subject had either been undertaken from the point of view of art history or covered the entire building, the church or convent as a whole, of which the bell-tower was merely an appendix. There were practically no studies from an architectural viewpoint that specifically approached this singular feature. As a result, the study covers a bibliographical void in the field of Valencia’s most traditional architectural typology.

The research focused on approaching a knowledge of bell-towers through the work of a single architect. Its scope was limited to reaching an understanding of the architecture of a ‘colleague’ from the past through rigorous examination of his work. The subject of study was the figure of José Mínguez (Cascante 1682-Valencia 1750) and the five exemplary bell-towers he built (Chelva, Foyos, San Valero in Ruzafa, San Lorenzo in Valencia and Campanar [Ruzafa and Campanar are now within Valencia]). This outstanding architect lived in an ideal social context at an opportune moment in history and enjoyed unique opportunities to become an indisputable key figure in the architectural evolution of the Valencian bell-towers of the time.

The method used was an analysis of the dimensions, geometry, proportions and distribution of these five bell-towers through drawings, using a structuralist approach. The starting point was the bell-towers themselves, measuring and drawing their walls, arches, vaults, stairs, terraces, roofs etc. directly from the models. The procedure employed in their study was graphic analysis. The result led to certain objective conclusions, drawn from the coincidences and progressive evolutions detected by the analysis. As a corollary, these were synthesized in an ideal ‘José Mínguez style’ bell-tower project which was then tested, thus attaining the initial objective: understanding the architecture of these singular bell-towers.


The social function of the bell-tower; the evolution of bell-towers in the Valencia region from their origins; society and architecture in the Valencia of the time; the traditional methods employed in designing and building bell-towers, etc. The purpose of this chapter is to provide the prior knowledge required for a correct approach to the subject and give a broad overview of this architectural feature and its crystallisation in the Valencia region.

An examination of the life and times of the architect in order to understand his work in its full humanist dimension. This chapter gives information on the social events and the architecture being built in the Valencia that Mínguez knew during the first half of the 18th century and on the life and work of his master and patriarch, Juan Pérez Castiel, as well as research on the life and works of José Mínguez and his descendants.

This chapter contributes some significant and hitherto unpublished facts about Mínguez’s life and some of his works.

An introduction to the bell-towers of the time; the towers that were being built in the Valencia region soon before José Mínguez embarked on his career.

The main directions in which these towers were evolving during the last decades of the 17th century and the first decades of the 18th century are identified and the known historical facts are compiled. The formal features of selected examples are examined briefly and their possible mutual influences and their reflection in Mínguez’s projects are identified.

Aspects of the architecture of each of the five bell-towers in turn are examined, including: the known historical facts; the application of predetermined geometrical patterns in their layout; the geometric and proportion parameters employed in their composition, based on the architectural orders; stylistic features; and construction, distribution and functional peculiarities.

For the sake of objectivity, the analytical process is repeated uniformly for each. The majority of the analyses are conducted in graphic form.

The parameters discovered by the analyses are compared element by element. As a result of this comparative study, a series of objective conclusions are reached. The first of these refer to the features that remain constant or invariable in the bell-towers studied. The remainder are the result of having observed a chronological evolution or trend in a concrete, identifiable direction.

Complete drawings for a ‘Mínguez style’ bell-tower. The creation of this theoretical bell-tower demonstrates an understanding of his architecture and of having learnt to control, proportion and dimension it objectively and rigorously. It may be affirmed that this design exercise achieves the fundamental objective of the research, of which the ‘project’ constitutes a very clear demonstration.

By way of an epilogue, this chapter looks at the evolution of the bell-towers up to their disparagement and abandonment at the end of the century at the prompting of the Academia de San Carlos. Emphasis is placed on possible references to the model analysed and the significance of José Mínguez’s bell-towers in the years following their construction is noted.

The main part of the book summarises the central argument of chapters IV and V of the PhD Thesis (largely in chapters IV and V of the book). Some new analyses are added (such as the internal dimensions of the bell-chamber and their relationship with the acoustic parameters of the bell-tower) and the plans for the theoretical bell-tower "200 hands high with a pentagonal base" that Mínguez designed for San Lorenzo but never built (it was eventually constructed with a hexagonal floor plan) are tested. Prior to these chapters the book includes introductions to:

The historical and design evolution of bell-towers in the Valencia Region. This subject was approached in part of chapter I of the thesis and is also briefly mentioned in the introductory chapter to the book.

The design problems of 18th century bell-towers. This is taken from the preliminary considerations in chapter IV of the thesis and approached in the second chapter of the book with the addition of some new material.

The life and work of José Minguez, taken from part of chapter II of the thesis and covered in chapter III of the book.

This book, which publishes a fragment of a work of research, signifies the recognition of subjects that have hitherto received little attention: a brilliant period in the history of Valencian architecture, a remarkable architect of the past and a singular, emblematic architectural feature which is characteristic of the truly vernacular tradition of Valencia’s architectural heritage.

Póster elaborado para la defensa de la Tesis Doctoral JOSÉ MÍNGUEZ, ARQUITECTO DEL S. XVIII; UN MODELO DE CAMPANARIO, con composición de los dibujos de levantamiento tipológico de los cinco campanarios modélicos del maestro Mínguez / Bell-tower of Nuestra Señora de la Misericordia, Campanar, 1746-1757

Campanario de Ntra. Sra. de la Misericordia de Campanar, 1746-1757 / Poster prepared for the viva on the PhD thesis JOSÉ MÍNGUEZ, 18TH CENTURY ARCHITECT. A BELL-TOWER MODEL, with a montage of typological scale drawings of the five exemplary bell-towers by Mínguez

Estudio comparativo de los pináculos de los cinco campanarios de José Mínguez, extraído de la documentación gráfica de la Tesis Doctoral e incluido en el Libro como lámina XVI /Analysis of the drawing, proportion and modulation of the Misericordia bell-tower in Campanar, from the graphic documentation of the PhD Thesis, illustration X in the book

Publicación: "Los campanarios de José Mínguez". Ediciones Generales de la Construcción. Colección Biblioteca T.C. Valencia 1700-1750 /
Book: "The belltowers of José Míngez". Ediciones Generales de la Construcción. Collection: Biblioteca T.C.

Francisco Juan Vidal

De la Tesis Doctoral / PhD thesis:
Salvador Lara Ortega

Departamento Expresión Gráfica Arquitectónica de la UPV /
Department Architectural Graphic Expression, Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV)

Fecha de lectura/Viva:
Mayo 1999

Biblioteca de la Universidad Politécnica de Valencia /
UPV Library, UPV Department of Architectural Graphic Expression

Análisis de trazado, proporción y modulación del campanario de la Misericordia de Campanar, extraído de la documentación gráfica de la Tesis Doctoral e incluido en el Libro como lámina X / Detail of the top of the bell-tower of San Valero, Ruzafa, 1736-1740