Born in Valencia, Juan José Estellés belonged to a family linked to the world of art (his grandfather had a plaster carving workshop) and received an exacting education at Madrid’s Institución Libre de Enseñanza. During the Spanish Civil War, both he and his father were officials in the Republican army. This brought him serious reprisals – imprisonment for a year and a half – that resulted in his being condemned to work as a plasterer and draftman.
After studying architecture in Barcelona, Estellés returned to Valencia and joined the Grupo Parpalló, a movement of architects and industrial designers with whom he built the Colegio de Santo Tomás de Villanueva, an early work in a career marked by construction rigor and the influence of Mies and Marcel Breuer, and by works like the Ciudad Ducal de Valencia residential development in Gandía or the Levante football stadium, not to mention his part in the controversial Sagunto theater refurbishment. Estellés also taught at the School of Architecture of Valencia from its founding and did much for his native city, where he died.