ANTONIO PALACIOS RAMILO
Antonio Palacios Ramilo was born in 1874 in O Porriño, the youngest of seven siblings and the son of a public works assistant. After finishing high school, he moved to Madrid to study architecture. It is there that he begins to establish himself as the architect he eventually became. He spent his vacations in Galicia, primarily in his hometown and in Vigo. He attended gatherings with other Galician intellectuals at the Botica Nova, a building he built for his pharmacist brother José Palacios, and where poet Ramón Cabanillas, writer and lawyer Valentn Paz Andrade, and businessman Enrique Peinador, among others, have lived.
The use of regional architecture to design new buildings is known as regionalism. It is complementary to eclecticism; another style developed by Palacios which took inspiration from different eras and styles (Greek, Roman, Renaissance…) and combined them in the same design. This greatly influenced his architectural style, which was characterized by Galician regionalism with personal touches as a signature.
Palacios was known for his use of granite, which managed to increase the value of the granite quarries in Atios, O Porriño. According to Paz Andrade, granite was not used before as it was too coarse grained but after the implementation of polishing machines, it opened up a new market for the peninsula.
He died in Madrid in 1945, and his ashes were transferred to O Porriño, where he was buried in the municipal cemetery beneath a small granite mass.
PALACIOS LEGACY IN HIS HOMETOWN: O PORRIÑO
A FONTE DO CRISTO
Built in 1904, Palacios’ Fuente Del Cristo is located in Plaza del Cristo. It stands out for its use of materials such as stone, ceramics, and iron in an eclectic style inspired by traditional Galician baroque fonts.
The fountain has a two-body structure that has a vertical lean. The first part consists of a strong octagonal base surrounded by eight thick but small blocks of granite. On the upper part of the stairs rests a sturdy base which supports the rest of the fountain. The second part features a classic-style column with an octagonal body that sticks out which incorporates both the water pipes and the floral-themed decorations. The fluted column leads to a statue of a page carrying a wrought iron spear in the shape of a cross. The figure was designed by José Cerviño García.
CASA CONSISTORIAL DO PORRIÑO
Antonio Palacios’s most important work in his hometown is the town hall building in O Porriño (1919-1924). He did not charge for it, nor for the rest of his works in O Porriño, demonstrating the importance he placed on Galicia. This project must have held a special significance for the architect, as not only did it specify for the first time an architectural style of Galician roots, but it was also a work dedicated to his mother.
For the design he draws inspiration from his country’s traditional architecture and medieval styles. The Casa del Concello is described by Ramón Cabanillas as “the first Galician civil construction”. The building caught fire in 1976, destroying the wooden structures and stained glass windows inside. These were later replaced with different ones as the original designs cannot be recovered.
The house opposite is where Palacios lived before starting his studies in Madrid. The essence of the house is preserved structurally (the porches, balconies…), both internally and externally, but the entrance is no longer used as a residential access. The Palacios Ramilo family also owned the house next door, where the balconies on the same floor were combined into one.
A BOTICA NOVA
The Botica Nova is a unique structure designed by Antonio Palacios as a pharmacy and residence for his brother José Palacios. It is a simple building with an eclectic style that is full of modernity, despite having marked and strong stone lines, which are typical of Palacios’ production. This work is notable not only for its historical significance, but also for the meticulous gatherings that took place there. The Palacios brothers, the writer Paz Varela, Ramón Cabanillas, Enrique Peinador, Vicente Risco, and the painter Francisco Llórens were all present at these intellectual gatherings. It is still a pharmacy today, though the management is unrelated to the Palacios family.
The project was completed in 1909. In June of that year, his brother requested permission to build a house with a pharmacy. As Xosé Ramón Iglesias Veiga studied, on the 27th of that month, Servando Ramilo donated the land of the O Cristo park to the City Council and made it a condition to respect the closure of the lot so that it could never be built next to it. José Palacios was granted permission by the municipal corporation to construct a building in O Cristo without lights. The pharmacist disagreed and filed an appeal. Despite this, the governor was not on his side. Work began in 1909, and the following year José Palacios requested permission to reopen the park’s lights. The local government only allowed him to open the sash windows on the top floor.
TEMPLETE DO METRO DE MADRID
It is a pavilion designed to conceal a large elevator that connected the street to the Madrid metro’s San Luis network. When it was decided that this door would be removed, the O Porriño Council and the Madrid College of Architects campaigned to have it returned to his hometown where it resides today.
MONDARIZ-BALNEARIO: WATER, STONE AND PALACIOS
The smallest municipality in Spain (Mondariz-Balneario) gets its name from the thermal circle in which it is located, which is unique in the world. The healing properties of the waters caught the attention of doctor Enrique Peinador, who decided to use it in accordance with health regulations.
The Republic Government declared the Mondariz waters to be of public utility and authorized their exploitation in June 1973. That same year, they requested permission to open the “Establishment of Mondariz carbonic-ferruginous acid-alkaline mineral waters”. The Mondariz Spa was established at that time.
The construction of “El Gran Hotel” began in the area where Antonio Palacios was an apprentice of Gerardo de la Fuente. It was here where Palacios began his career with total design freedom and commissions for complementary works.
FONTE DE TRONCOSO
It was the first water source with healing properties discovered in the region, and it was used to heal injuries by the Celts and Romans. Antonio Palacios’s authorship is not clear; it does not appear on his list of works at the Madrid School of Architects.
It is widely recognized as one of his works, but there is no documentation to back it up, only a few sketches. It could have been included in a reform, extension, or improvement proposal.
FONTE DA GÁNDARA
There was once small and rustic stone fountain in its place, but due to the mixing of the waters with those of a nearby stream, it lost some of its qualities. The first fountain was built in the Troncoso style, but when Palacios started as an intern at El Gran Hotel, he was commissioned to create a new one as part of his complementary works.
The Fuente de Gándara pavilion has a large concrete and iron dome supported by classic granite columns with plant decorations on the capitals. It is distinguished by the use of cutting-edge materials, such as tile and gray Mondariz granite. It attempts to adapt the traditional/classic part while giving it a new look. He was the first to use gray granite in architecture, which he brought directly from the O Porrio quarries. Mondariz gray is named after the town where it was first used.
The fire that destroyed the Gran Hotel in the Mondariz spa had no effect on the A Gándara fountain, which is why it still retains its original grandeur and luxury today.
After Palacios finished his degree in Madrid, they sent him to Mondariz once again to do El Templete de la Música. This was also requested by his teacher as a complementary work.
EDIFICIO LA BARANDA
The Gran Hotel required a service area, so Palacios began sketching a new design which included a hairdresser, a clothing store, and a telephone. He desired to preserve the essence of the thermal pathway. The façade is completely linear, but once inside, the architectural circles Palacios is known for reappear. A fire in 1973 halted construction, but in the 1990s, they began to restore the space. The interior structure of the building has now changed to accommodate current needs.
Initially, the water was only sold in pharmacies, but as interest in their waters grew in Madrid, the decision to bottle the water was made. The current spa area is located next to the old bottling plant.
HOTEL SANATORIO: “PALACIOS BUILDING” NOWADAYS
Amongst the many customers there were people who were going to take care of themselves and those who were going to get treated, which is why they built a sanatorium. In concept, the structure has a circular reception area from which two separate accommodation wings sprout. The structure was designed with a modernist essence.
The 1973 fire reached the first level and as Enrique Peinador faced economic and political issues, construction was halted is still in the midst. Furthermore, after the fire, individuals grabbed some of the furniture, therefore a substantial portion of the collection is in private houses. Many of them have not been returned to the organization or the facility.
ANTONIO PALACIOS IN VIGO
TEATRO GARCÍA BARBÓN:
It was built to preserve the legacy of the Rosala de Castro theater, which burned down on February 8, 1910. It is now known as the Teatro Afundación. Palacios was inspired by the Opera Garnier in Paris and the Arriaga theater in Bilbao and has been converted into a building representative of Vigo’s center architecture. It was expanded in relation to its original size by annexing two buildings. It served as a theater, cinema, auditorium, and even a casino.
Its exterior features an oval lobby and a grand staircase in an eclectic academic style. It is now used as a theater for various performances, a library and study room on the top floor, and an exhibition room.
Designed in 1941, it has a classicist style similar to that of the Chicago school with a few modern references. It is composed of three bodies: a plinth or base body with pilasters and padded arches, a second body formed by a colonnade of giant origin, which supports the third body, which is the architrave (a horizontal beam supported by columns and on which is the frieze), and which encompasses the fourth floor. The entire façade is made of granite from local quarries, and the ten colonnades are covered with a dark brown glazed ceramic material, giving it an unusual decorative character.
MONASTERIO DE LAS SALESAS REALES:
One of Palacios’ religious projects, though its construction was never completed. He proposed a roundabout floor plan with an ambulatory and an octagonal central space. The preliminary design included a large central courtyard surrounded by convent buildings. A monumental tower would rise in the center of the church, serving as an identifying element of the building’s façade image. He predicted that the monastery would become a well-known tourist attraction in Vigo.
The plans for the first pavilion were signed in 1944, but not for the entire project. Palacios explained that tackling everything at once would be too expensive and that going in stages would be more convenient.
ANTONIO PALACIOS AT ATLANTIC SEASHORE: VAL MIÑOR (Miñor Valley)
THE STONE VIRGIN – A VIRXE DA ROCHA (BAIONA):
The first stone was laid in 1910, with a small zinc box containing two gold, two silver, and two bronze coins, as well as a copy of the event’s record.
The monument stands 15 meteres tall from the ground and is carved from granite, with the exception of the face and hands which were sculpted by Ángel García Díaz and are made from white marble. The interior of the monument is hollow and contains a spiral staircase with 45 steps that allows you to climb the boat that the virgin holds in her right hand, which has an amazing viewpoint from which you can contemplate the sea and the towns.
Due to financial difficulties that arose during the construction, the monument’s completion was slow, even being suspended on several occasions. When the monument was half comepleted, it was decided that its height would be reduced by removing a section from the center. Despite this, its inauguration was celebrated on September 14, 1930, with various religious and pagan acts and ceremonies that are still repeated today on the last Sunday of August, at the foot of the monument.
SEA TEMPLE – TEMPLO VOTIVO DO MAR (PANXÓN, NIGRÁN)
It is notable for its use of recycled materials, such as bottle butts, and the play of textures on the façade, a distinctive enclave of the Palacios style, as well as the battlements, which are rather typical of castles; a framework in its regionalist architecture.
It was built as a replacement church for Panxón because the old one was insufficient for the town’s growing population, but its remains have been preserved at Palacios’ request because it is one of the few examples of Germanic architecture in Galicia. He was inspired by this, creating a structure with Gothic hints, Muslim influences, and modernist touches, but always attempting to capture Galician art.
O CARBALLIÑO: O TEMPLO DA VERACRUZ
TEMPLO DA VERACRUZ:
It is Palacios’s second religious structure, following the Templo Votivo do Mar. The work was financed by popular subscription. The project was assigned to him in 1942, and construction began in 1943 under the supervision of master stonemason Adolfo Otero Landeiro, who perfectly interpreted the work’s meaning. Antonio Palacios began work on a large medieval pilgrimage church with an ambulatory and radial chapels, combining arts such as Romanesque and Gothic. The Templo da Veracruz is the town’s most grandiose and identifying work, constructed entirely of regional materials, particularly granite and slab.
Because it is an amalgamation of various architectural and sculptural forms, the style as a whole is difficult to define. However, the Carballiés historian Felipe Senén Gómez, scholar of the palatial work, who studied this case in depth, generalizing about its religious architecture, says that “its temples are like a theological sum of the historical architecture of Galicia, also in relation to its architecture of the Camino de Santiago, with its English architecture, Atlanticism, and with Palacios’ models and admiration for the Viennese School”. As a result, influences and traces of all of these construction types can be found: country houses, monasteries (Oseira, Melón), cathedrals, churches, castles… The symbology is present in all of the temple’s elements, and Veracruz is an expressionist symbol of the time.
SANTA TREGA: UN RESTAURANTE NAS ALTURAS
MUSEO ARQUEOLÓXICO DE SANTA TREGA (MASAT):
The current Archaeological Museum of Santa Trega (MASAT) was originally a restaurant from 1934 until the Pro Monte Society bought it and adapted it as a museum, inaugurating it for this new purpose in 1953. The materials that were previously stored and classified were transferred to a central location in A Guarda, in the Museum that Pro Monte established in June 1972 on the initiative of the secretary of this society, Pacfico Rodrguez. It is one of the first archaeological museums in Galicia to be designated as a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1962, just after one hundred years of its existence.