/ The Buenos Aires Guide
Buenos Aires — By Pablo Juan Augustinowicz on June 24, 2010 at 6:00 am
Filed under: featuredarticle, History & Information, museum

The Beautiful Palace of Running Waters


As I mentioned before, there are numerous beautiful buildings around the heart of Buenos Aires. It is just a matter of taking your time to look around. Most porte├▒os just hurry past everything in a haste without taking note of anything. So, take time to admire your surroundings. One of these buildings to watch out for is El Palacio de Aguas Corrientes (the Palace of Running Water) which is located along Avenida C├│rdoba at calle Riobamba.

Avenida C├│rdoba is an heavily used thoroughfare, so although many people pass by this magnificent Baroque structure, most miss it. Its entrance is around the corner at Riobamba 750 (map).

So, here is the story: prior to the construction of the municipal plumbing system, water was collected and held in pools and containers in individual homes. In the 1800’s water was literally sold in buckets to homeowners, brought from the river, full of silt. These conditions helped spread disease. El Palacio de Aguas Corrientes was built as a disguise for what was essentially a water tower reservoir meant to provide clean, drinking water to the locals following the yellow fever epidemic of 1877.

Water was collected from the river, off the shore of Belgrano, and diverted through canals to Recoleta, where it was pumped to El Palacio. Twelve metal tanks inside stored 72 million liters of water. Because the new water storage building was located in an area that was being populated by the city’s wealthy families and their mansions, the building was meant to complement the surrounding architecture and as a monument to what was a world class city.

The building construction began in 1887 and was completed in 1897. The fa├žade is made up of over 170,000 tiles and more than 130,000 enamel bricks, as well as glazed castings of the coat of arms of the fourteen provinces and the capital city Buenos Aires, which at that time made up the Rep├║blica Argentina. The ocher and blue-greenish terracotta glazed tiles were made by Royal Doulton and shipped in crates from Britain.

As you can imagine this is a very ornate and opulent building. Nowadays the equipment is defunct and the building serves only as the headquarters of the water company. You can find porte├▒os paying their water bills on the first floor, and on the 2nd floor there is a small museum where you can see some of the plans for the building, some tiles up close, a complete display of every type of faucet and water valve used in the city, and a variety of toilets collected from across the world as well as a library.

It shouldn’t take more that 10 minutes to see it all unless you have some kind of toilet bowl fetish. The museum is only open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 9 am until noon. Admission is free. Check out this short video.

El Palacio de Aguas Corrientes
Riobamba 750 – Barrio Norte

Photo credit: blmurch on Flickr

Related places:
  1. A
    Palacio de Aguas y Servicios Publicos
    Viamonte, City of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    View Details and Book
  2. B
    Buenos Aires
    View Details and Book
Tags: featuredarticle, History & Information, museum

    1 Comment

  • Sites says:

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later ..

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