Palacio de Aguas Corrientes

Buenos Aires, Argentina | C.1894

Photo Credit: Matias Galeano

Palacio de Aguas Corrientes, or Palace of the Running Waters, is a breathtakingly beautiful water pumping station in Buenos Aires. In the late 19th century, rapid population growth and the onset of several epidemics, including cholera and typhoid, prompted the city to introduce a modern running water system. Construction on the Palacio started in 1887 and was completed seven years later.

Designed by Swedish Argentine architect Carlos Nystramer, the building is covered in 300,000 glazed, multicolor terracotta tiles imported from a British ceramics and its mansard roof is emblazoned with escutcheons representing 14 Argentine provinces.

While its exterior is magnificent, what’s inside is just as breathtaking. Within the walls of the Palacio sits an enormous iron structure designed to supply water to the city. British engineer John Bateman provided designs for the water system as early as 1873. Built in Belgium, the structure’s tanks span three floors and are capable of holding more than 72 million liters of water.

In 1892, the Palacio was transferred to the City and operated under its ownership for nearly 100 years. In 1978, the Palacio was disengaged from service for a short time and used for administrative and cultural uses. Revered for both its form and function, the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes was designated a National Historic Monument in 1987.

Today, it is owned by AySA, the city’s water company and also serves as their administrative center. For this, the Palacio is sometimes referred to as The Water Company Palace. Inside, visitors can take guided tours of the pumping station and also explore a small museum on water works.

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