Among many others, one of the characteristics of the City of Buenos Aires is its orthogonal plane. The streets intersect at right angles and form blocks. A real checkerboard. However, there are exceptions. Some of the most unique blocks are found in the neighborhoods of Parque Chas or in Palermo Chico, where they are round; also in the surroundings of Avenida San Martín, in the neighborhoods of Agronomía and Villa del Parque, from where small triangular blocks emerge.
But there is a triangle that has implanted a palace considered the oldest in the north of the City. It is the Haedo Palace, in Retiro, and it is estimated that it was built in 1860. It is a National Historic Monument.
Haedo Palace is in the block comprised of Santa Fe, Maipú and Marcelo T. de Alvear. The main facade faces the avenue, in front of the Plaza San Martín.
The Haedo Palace is located in a triangular block between Santa Fe avenues, Maipú and Marcelo T. de Alvear. Photo Fernando of the Order
This building belongs to the National State and it is the historic headquarters of the National Park Administration. One of its current characteristics is the metal structure that surrounds its facade. The scaffolding prevents the masonry from falling on bystanders, but conceals the mansard with black slate tiles, window ornaments, and corner turrets.
This structure has been transformed almost into a postcard: those who visit the area daily They couldn’t make out this building without the scaffolding. They have been there for more than 15 years.
However this could change. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Nation, together with the Ministry of Public Works, addressed an ambitious building restoration program.
The Haedo Palace is from the 19th century and was remodeled several times. Photo Fernando of the Order
The proyect consists in transform it into an “interpretive museum”: “That it serves for environmental education and interpretation of the country’s regions and ecosystems. It will have rooms for exhibitions, meetings, reports, a mini auditorium and library,” they detail. Clarion from National Park.
For the Ministry of Public Works, it is a work that is added to others that it is carrying out at the moment: for example, the restoration of the Confectionery of the Mill, which it carries out together with the City and the National Congress. In addition, he worked in the Basilica of Luján and now, in the Amancio Williams Bridge House, in Mar del Plata.
The architect Fabio Grementieri is a member of the National Commission of Monuments, Places and Historical Assets and describes the Haedo Palace as a petit hotel: “Have a castle look which makes it very unique, in addition to its location and the particularity of the block; in Buenos Aires there are very few like that. Unfortunately it was very remodeled. East petit hotel It is an important constitutive piece within the urban space that it integrates, the surroundings of Plaza San Martín. There it is part of the group of buildings of different styles that were built between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th “.
Haedo Palace has a castle look to it. Photo Fernando of the Order
Justly many of the buildings that make up this axis in Retiro are national historical monuments: the Anchorena Palace, the ceremonial seat of the Chancellery; the Peace Palace, to the right of the Haedo, headquarters of the Military Circle and which was the largest residence in the City, and the Kavanagh building, an icon of rationalist architecture worldwide.
There are also MHN the Monumental Tower or the English Tower and the recently restored Retiro Station of the Miter Railroad. And there is one pending cataloging, the Plaza Hotel, closed today.
The National Commission of Monuments, Places and Historical Assets depends on the Ministry of National Culture and exercises the superintendency over all assets declared as monuments; must authorize all interventions that are carried out.
At the City level, the Haedo Palace is part of an APH or Historic Protection Area. This area encompasses the other buildings mentioned and implies precautionary protection, which preserves “the characteristic image of an area and prevents alterations in its tissue and morphology.” In other words, all buildings located within an APH have, by default, some type of protection.
All interventions on the Haedo Palace must be authorized and supervised by the National Commission of Historical Monuments. Photo Fernando of the Order
According to official information, the restoration work of the Haedo Palace will have an estimated budget of 130 million pesos. They estimate that the jobs will take between 20 and 24 months. But it is still necessary to determine when they will begin: “The executive project is pending,” they explain. As it is a monument, the intervention of the Commission and also of the Heritage areas of the City of Buenos Aires must be given.
A 19th century residence
The Haedo Palace is considered It was the first large house that was installed in this part of the City. The original owners were the businessman Mariano F. Haedo, who intervened in the development of the railway network, and Rosa Santa Coloma Azcuénaga, who belonged to one of the most powerful families in the country at the time.
“The antecedents of the Haedo residence place it around 1860 as the only surviving urban testimony of Plaza San Martín from the mid-19th century“, confirms the Guide to National Historical Monuments, where it is identified as” Antigua Residencia Villar “.
A decade later, it was unleashed in Buenos Aires the yellow fever epidemic, whose first cases were registered in San Telmo, in January 1871. Many families of the upper classes left their colonial-style houses in the south of the City and moved north.
A) Yes Retiro ceased to be a marginal area and families began to commission the construction of their residences, petit hotels and palaces to the most renowned European architects. They made them from Plaza San Martín to Avenida Alvear and Recoleta.
The original Haedo house had a ground floor and a first floor. “It had two crenellated towers of medieval inspiration in front of the park: one octagonal and the other cylindrical “, the guide details.
The Haedo Palace is believed to be the oldest residence in the Plaza San Martín area, Photo Fernando de la Orden
In 1890 the house was sold to Reinaldo Villar, who also belonged to a wealthy family of landowners from Entre Ríos.
Throughout the decades underwent several transformations, until reaching the current appearance: the house grew one floor and has added a roof with a mansard. The original turrets disappeared and were replaced by domes and conical towers.
Mortgaged, in 1942 it was bought by the national State and used as the headquarters of the National Parks Administration.