History

OLD SLAUGHTERHOUSE

Santa Cándida is located to the south of the city of Concepción del Uruguay, on the right bank and mouth of Arroyo de la China (stream) in the Itapé rivulet. It is accessed through a gravel country road, after crossing the aforementioned stream through the so-called “Puente de Fierro” (iron bridge). The slaughterhouse provided job opportunities for more than 300 people, an exceptional number indeed for those times. The construction of the slaughterhouse was destined to complete the livestock production cycle. Existing documents show that most of the slaughtered cattle came from the owner’s farm. The facilities consisted of large storehouses of 30m by 12m destined to meat processing rooms, leather washing and salting and warehouses. Vessels of various nationalities arrived at the Santa Cándida pier: English, Spanish, Danish, North American, Dutch and Brazilian. So immense was the activity that, in order to facilitate boarding, in 1860 the owner hired architect Fossati for the construction of a pier, wooden bridge and a railway. The building was originally the administration of the Santa Cándida slaughterhouse, owned by General Justo José de Urquiza. The name of the establishment was a tribute to the hero’s mother, Doña Cándida García.

RECONSTRUCTION

On the death of General Urquiza, the slaughterhouse was sold to Mr. Saturnino Unzué and at the beginning of this century it was inherited by Doña Adela Unzué de Leloir. It was her husband, Don Antonio Leloir, who had the main building, built by the architect Pedro Fossati, enlarged and remodeled. It was reconditioned by the architect Ángel León Gallardo. Eight bathrooms were added, the front and the rear facade of the building were expanded by adding large terraces on the first floor and a covered gallery on the ground floor, ornamented with two beautiful statues. Artistic friezes were placed on the walls, mainly those of the dining room. At the entrance you can see an iron and copper gate acquired by Leloir in a palace in Venice. The chandeliers in the reception room as well as those in the dining room and other rooms are made of Baccarat crystal, imported from Venice. In the front and rear facades, in alcoves, there are sculptures by Fores, which represent the four seasons. In the park, there is a Pallas Athena, two marble sphinxes, sculptures (copies) of Hercules with the seven-headed hydra and Hercules slaying the lion of Nemes. Original administration building, around 1870. On the central watchtower there is a lighthouse that indicated the location of the port (now disappeared). Image of the facilities. The poles for drying leather can be seen in the foreground. The administrative building already transformed into a large family residence.

Original administration building, around 1870. On the central watchtower there is a lighthouse that indicated the location of the port (now disappeared).

Image of the facilities. The poles for drying leather can be seen in the foreground.

The administrative building already transformed into a large family residence.

Main front of the administration of the old slaughterhouse, today converted into a palace.

Rear facade of the palace. In the center of the ground floor, the extension made to form the large dining room.

pRESENT

Today, the entry point to the residence is made up of a large metal gate, with bars, flanked by strong masonry pillars. From there a rectilinear access avenue with large white tipa trees extends until the main residence, on its rear access (south side). The main building, today known as the “palace”, is made up of an architectural part of a distinct Italian cut and clearly related to the idea of ​​the Palladian “villas.” Its current appearance is the product of several and successive interventions carried out on the original construction. The access avenue, the use of sculptural ensembles, the location of the stables and houses of the laborers, indicate the synthesis between that guiding idea and the specific functions that the complex had. The main portico is identified in the design of the “loggias,” advancing a section of three arches. The use of statues as finishes or in alcoves indicates the influence of the “villas,” since the integration of sculptural ensembles in buildings constitutes an innovation in the architecture of Río de la Plata, without precedents in the colonial period. The complex was declared a “National Historic Monument” by Decree No. 3571 of the National Executive Power, dated November 24, 1977. After several successors, the Palace lost its entire splendor until 1971, the year in which Don Francisco Saenz Valiente (Urquiza’s grandson) together with his wife, Helena Zimmermann, bought the Palace to rescue it from oblivion. They dedicated a whole decade to reinvigorate the Palace; little by little they recovered the architecture, the park and the furniture. Currently, the Palace belongs to Ignacio Lanusse (son of Helena Zimmermann) and his wife Verónica Freixas Pinto. Main front of the administration of the old slaughterhouse, today converted into a palace. Rear facade of the palace. In the center of the ground floor, the extension made to form the large dining room.

SANTA CÁNDIDA PALACE
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