Dirección General de Patrimonio Cultural del Ayuntamiento de Madrid
The Casa Árabe or the Arabian House occupies the building commonly known as Escuelas Aguirre, a teaching institution that emerged as an initiative of the philanthropist Lucas Aguirre y Juárez. The first stone was laid in 1881, although the final project is attributed to the architect Emilio Rodríguez Ayuso, who drafted it in 1884. The architect conceived it as a two-story, free-standing building, and incorporated developments that were new at the time, such as a gym, library, school museum, playground, music room and a weather observatory, located in the building’s narrow Neo-Mudéjar tower. The tower is formed of three bodies and is thirty-seven metres high, with circular windows and clocks, and ending in a glass viewpoint. It was inaugurated on October 18, 1886, and from 1911 to 1971 it came directly under the umbrella of the Madrid City Council as a school. Between 1998 and 1999, it was renovated once again to adapt it for use as a Municipal Training College: two mezzanines were built for classrooms inside each covered patio, the entrances were rearranged, and the architectural barriers were removed by building two new staircases and lifts. Since March 2008, it has been the headquarters of the Casa Árabe in Madrid, after an outstanding job of remodelling and updating its interior spaces.
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