The Water Company Palace
The building was designed as a water pumping station in 1877 by Swedish Argentine architect Carlos Nyströmer, and completed in 1894. It was commissioned, in part, to replace the unsightly water tower on Lorea Plaza (in what today is Congressional Plaza). Occupying a city block at the northern end of the city's Balvanera section, the Córdoba Avenue landmark still functions as a pumping station. The French renaissance palace was covered in over 300,000 glazed, multi-color terra cotta tiles imported from the renowned British ceramics maker, Royal Doulton. It features a tin mansard roof, and is emblazoned with escutcheons representing the 14 Argentine provinces, at the time.
The building's entrance is graced by two caryatids, and the property, by landscaped gardens that includea bust created by Norwegian sculptor Olaf Boye in honor of engineer Guillermo Villanueva, the first Director of the Buenos Aires Water Supply and Drainage Company Limited, the then British-owned municipal water works inaugurated in 1869.
The building was transferred to the City of Buenos Aires following the 1892 nationalization of the British-owned company over service quality concerns. The company, eventually known as Obras Sanitarias (OSN), was reprivatized in 1993 with a 30-year contract. The contract's rescission in 2006 transferred the property to AySA, a State enterprise, however. The palace still houses a number of water company offices, as well as a small water works museum.
The building figures prominently in the book "Santa Evita" by Tomas Eloy Martinez.
- Wilson, Jason. A Cultural Guide to the City of Buenos Aires. Oxford, England: Signal Books, 1999.
- Obras Sanitarias, debut de la ingeniería Argentina (Spanish)
- Reseña histórica (Spanish)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Water Company Palace.|
- Museum of Water and Health History - Aguas y Saneamientos Argentinos (Spanish)