Ferrovial La ingeniería civil como arte: creatividad e innovación

The Navigators of the Guadalquivir

Seville, Spain

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Buildings always have stories to tell. But there are walls, columns, and stairways that hold more secrets than anyone else. The Palace of San Telmo, today the seat of the Regional Government of Andalusia, has seen Seville and the world change before its very eyes.

It was originally built at the end of the 17th century for the University of Navigators, a guild of sailors. The palace has overlooked the hustle and bustle of the Guadalquivir for the 300 years since.

The Palace of San Telmo, one of the great civil examples of the Spanish Baroque, has undergone many changes over the centuries. After falling out of the hands of the Navigators, the building became the residence of the Dukes of Montpensier; later on in the 20th century, the Church used it as a Metropolitan Seminary.

From that time until its acquisition by the Regional Government of Andalusia in 1989, it underwent successive reforms to adapt it to its new uses; those reforms did not always respect the building’s original design. It therefore underwent an ambitious restoration and reconstruction at the end of the 20th century meant to restore the 17th-century splendor of Seville to the Palace of San Telmo, leaving room for respectful innovation.

This work was undertaken by Ferrovial, and it sought to restore structures of the Spanish-Muslim tradition, respecting features that could be rescued and rebuilding others. Baroque marble and Andalusian tile are mixed with open white spaces that respect its history, tailoring it to modern uses.

In addition to the building, the project also restored the memory of the San Telmo gardens in a large central space. There, the vegetation seems to grow as if wild, yet it is contained, highlighting the colors and textures of nature. It seems to recall the legacy of the Navigators who dominated the area between the Guadalquivir and the Indies, a new world that revolved around Seville.

The Palace of San Telmo, Seville (Spain)

The Palace of San Telmo, Seville (Spain)

  • Spain
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