Award winning public plaza in Adeje


Adeje’s Plaza de España has won the top prize in the Canarian ‘Manuel de Oráa y Arcocha 2008-2017 architecture awards, in the landscape and public space category. The prize is for the plaza’s projection as a reference point in both modernity and the preservation of local heritage. The plaza was also the winner in the World Architecture Festival New & Old section in the Public Space category a few years ago.

The prize is awarded by the Official School of Architecture of Tenerife, La Gomera and El Hierro, and is dedicated to recognising work in creating spaces that respect and emphasise the worth of local heritage and natural resources. The Plaza de España does just that, flanked by the Convento de San Francisco on one side, the Santa Úrsula Martir church on the other and with the awe-inspiring Barranco del Infierno as a backdrop, each a recognised point of cultural and natural interest, with the Plaza designed to enhance each of these features.

The renovation and redesign of the Plaza de España was the work of Tenerife architect Fernando Martín Menis (Estudio Menis Arquitectos) who is also responsible for the Magma & Congresos building, two structures that have become focus points in the borough for different groups and events, as well as viewpoints in their own right.

The Plaza de España is 1,182m2 with a 446m2 stage space and a garden zone. Work on the renovation and redesign was carried out in 2009 and 2010 financed by the Plan E2009 and Plan E2010. Since it reopened it has helped revitalise local businesses and become a much-used centre for events and public get-togethers.


Department of Communications







“This is our history”

The Adeje council’s project, ‘El Patrimonio es Nuestra’ (This is our history), an initiative of the department of artistic heritage, has become a fixed part of the cultural agenda over the last seven years, with organised visits for students to get to know the cultural, natural and historical riches the borough has to offer.

“Since we began this project we have welcomed over one thousand students from primary and secondary schools, both from Adeje and other boroughs, as the history f Adeje is also very important for the neighbouring zones of the island” commented Juan Desiderio Afonso Ruiz, councillor for local heritage, adding, “we want to show the evolution of Adeje from the past to the present through items of cultural interest”.

The Plaza de España, the San Francisco Convent, the Santa Úrsula church, the surrounds of the Fort House, Taucho, the ‘Virgin’ walk to La Caleta, all emblematic points in the borough with guided visits now incorporated into the schools agendas, with the additional recent inclusion of a visit to the Canarian library where the students can learn more and enjoy audio-visual supports too. “This way we are helping the next generation learn a little about their own culture too, as well as getting to know the local resources and learning to value the history of Adeje” said the councillor.

The project is more than an educational one, as tours can be offered to residents too, with many having already taken part in tours in English and Spanish, learning too of the architectural treasures locally.

D epartment of Communications







The Birth of Cities!

Fernando Menis

Fernando Menis



Architect Fernando Menis directs a two-day architecture course as part of the Adeje Summer University

How to turn what might seem to be barren territory and convert it into an ideal birthplace for a city? Just one of the questions that will be discussed at the two day course ‘Moldeando La Naturaleza Para Crear Vida’ (Moulding nature to create life), led by Tenerife architect Fernando Menis, the designer of the award winning Plaza España in Adeje, as part of the Adeje Summer University.
The course, which will run on July 24th and 25th, asks the question, “how does a city originate?” and a fascinating line up of guest speakers will attempt to answer it. And what might be of real interest to professionals in Adeje and South Tenerife who might not speak Spanish fluently, is that many of the presentations will be in English.
According to Menis the two-day course will be looking at the symbiosis between natural energy and manipulation of shape and material in the birth of city spaces, the creation of micro-climates where new life is possible. Developing an environment which develops and sustains the life of a new city and its future growth, using and strengthening the forces of nature to convert an uninhabitable space into an oasis, a habitat where people can settle and populations can grow.
If it all sounds like a script from a science fiction movie, think again. These kinds of developments have been taking place all over the world, and here too in Adeje we have seen the parallel development of living spaces alongside protected areas on land and in the sea. At a press conference to launch the course Adeje mayor Jose Miguel Rodríguez Fraga said, “we are following a school of architecture that is both modern and sustainable which takes into account the preservation of our environment as a priority. Adeje, “ he continued, “is a modern tourist borough 45% of which is protected territory. Here in Adeje we also have a marine classroom for the development and protection of our aquatic resources”.
Among the guest speakers will be Thomas Tsang, an assistant professor of architecture in the University of Hong Kong, who also spent many years studying in the USA. He has also worked in urban design in Hangzhou, in China. Juan Roldán, assistant professor in the Sharjah American University in the Arab Emirates, will discuss ‘Dubai and Sharjah, citymaking and landmarking’, which will examine the development of the neighbouring cities, one a financial and tourist destination the other an educative and cultural model. The conference will also examine how a future city without petrol could evolve.
Tarik Oualalou is the founder and CEO of Kilo Architects and will lead a discussion on the possibilities of design for a desert. Tenerife architect Dulce Xerach will look at Singapore as a possible role model for the Canary Island. Singapore is about the size of La Gomera, but with 5 million inhabitants, green zones, well developed and cared for countryside, and only 1.5 % unemployment, and an economy that is considered the second most competitive in the world.
Andreas Ruby has been a critical voice in the architectural world for a number of years, and, along with Ilka Ruby, created ‘textbild’ a centre for the production and promotion of books and works on architecture, based in Berlin. He will lead the discussion on reinventing construction, examining how modern pressures and social inequalities are just some of the factors creating a need for reinvention in the field of construction.

Wang Wei Jen will look at ‘Urban Courtyardism’, the quality and construction of urban patios and terraces, and ask is there a need to reassess the use and quality in the design of these spaces. He will show examples of three dimensional patio designs for ground and upper floor levels and show how new forms of thinking have seen the evolution of patios in China using natural light and ventilation and examine urban ‘courtyardism’ in our cities as a way of meeting the challenges of population density and sustainability.
This promises to be a fascinating two-day workshop, and will run from 9am-2pm and 4pm – 8pm on July 24th and 9am – 1pm on July 25th. Course director Fernando Menis is an associate professor at the European University, Canaries, and the president of the Laboratory of Innovation in Architecture, Design and Advanced Tourism in Tenerife. As well as the Plaza España in Adeje he designed the Magma Arte y Congresos centre in Las Américas, and is currently working on the Auditorium Jordánek in Poland, a Congress Centre in Fuerteventura and projects in Taiwan, Taipei, and in Ukraine.
For more information on this or other Summer University courses contact the Adeje council cultural department.