Dirección General de Patrimonio Cultural del Ayuntamiento de Madrid
In 1919, the Círculo de Bellas Artes or the Circle of Fine Arts called a bid for draft plans for the building of its headquarters on the site that had been occupied by the gardens of the Marquis of Casa Riera. The bid was declared void, leaving three final projects: the team formed by Secundino de Zuazo and Eugenio Fernández Quintanilla, that of Baltasar Hernández Briz and Ramiro Saiz Martínez and that of Gustavo Fernández Balbuena. Antonio Palacios, one of the contestants, appealed the ruling that had rejected his draft plans, on disqualifying him for exceeding the maximum height allowed. For this reason, a vote was cast among the members who chose Palacios’ project. The building, like all those constructed by this architect, had enormous problems obtaining a municipal license due to excess height, despite having been declared a centre for the protection of Fine Arts and a public utility entity. It conforms to a rectangular plot, suiting perfectly the different uses of each floor. The enormous mass is decorated with sculptures by Capuz and Adsuara on its façades and crowned by a Minerva by Juan Luis Vassallo. The complex boasts a monumental, eclectic urban image due to its volume and the treatment of its façades. The lower part copies the model of commercial buildings with a double giant order and in the upper part a set of different volumes is created until it terminates in the tower like a cultural lighthouse.
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