The Magdalena Palace in Santander

The Magdalena Palace in Santander
The Magdalena Palace in Santander

At the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Santander in northern Spain and on the shores of the Cantabrian Sea had become a destination preference for the Spanish kings, who were then Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia. For this reason, the city council decided to build them a summer residence that they also gave to the kings.


Magdalena Palace of Santander

That is the Palacio de la Magdalena, located on the peninsula of the same name that juts out into Santander Bay. That is to say, a privileged place for the views and because it is always visible. The intention in this sense was very clear on the part of the local council, which wanted to honor them with the best of the best.

There was a public competition for this, which was won by the Cantabrian architects Gonzalo Bringas and Javier González de Riancho, who built the palace in four years, between 1908 and 1912. And from the following summer it was already occupied by the royal family. Especially the queen. In fact, Victoria Eugenia's English ancestry was the cause of the British aspect of the construction, since the architects were inspired by the typical constructions of the Isle of Wight.

And it really was a space very dear to the queen and also her children, since they occupied it continuously until the 1930s. It is already known that the Republic would come later,the Civil War and the subsequent Franco dictatorship. However, during all that time the palace belonged to the grandson of Alfonso XIII, Juan de Borbón, who was finally returned to him, selling it to the City Council.

In other words, today it is municipal property and the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo is used as its headquarters.

Thus the Palacio de la Magdalena has become the image of this prestigious university, famous above all for its summer courses. And it is not strange that you want to link with a work so beautiful and so well integrated into its surroundings, which unites the sea, the forest and the city itself.

The facade alternates stone ashlars in corners and openings, with ashlar on the walls. And their different heights are clearly separated by horizontal imposts. In general, everything is very dynamic, since they seem to be various annex buildings, presenting facades that advance and retract, without keeping a single line. In addition to the fact that this alignment is still broken a little more with the presence of the monumental stairs that are in the different accesses.

To this must be added the presence of towers with polygonal floors. And neither do the roofs keep the same height. By the way, the slate roofs are of a more pronounced slope than in the local architecture, something that is due to the aforementioned English influence. And the same explanation has the two levels of the attics.

However, it must be said that the climate of Santander has many similarities with that of the south ofEngland, for that reason all those formal loanwords fit perfectly here. In fact, today some features have been incorporated into its Cantabrian construction traditions.

Popular topic