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The building

At Academia Uruguay we have not forgotten that the building in which we have created the Spanish language institute has a cultural and historic value. In the 1980’s the building was restored. The building now looks quite similar to the 1850’s when it was built.

The following article was published a few years ago in the local newspaper “El Observador” and talks about the restoration process of the historic building on the corner of Rincón and Juan Carlos Gómez, where today the Academia Uruguay is located. Here are a few excerpts from this article:

Artículo sobre edificio Academia Uruguay“The immortal corner
There is a building which does not open on the cultural heritage day, but should open. It is the building on the corner of Juan Carlos Gómez and Rincón, opposite Plaza Matriz (…). There (…) was the Café of the immortals, where Florencio Sánchez suffered and newspaper employees relaxed, between the walls painted in light green and Gardel’s photo surrounded by plastic flowers; all things considered, the worst thing about the place was probably its café, he remembers.

After the barbarism committed for the sake of building buildings (…) came the halt provoked – at the end of the past decade – by the movement to restore the old city of Montevideo initiated by today’s mayor Mariano Arana. That’s when the owner of the building now restored found out that what was slowly decaying had been declared a historic building and there was no way he could demolish the building to build a new one.

His colleagues in the project remember that it was the architect Enrique Besuievsky who convinced the owner and themselves to restore the building. It was one of the first restoration projects and even today there is none that matches it, affirms architect Isidoro Singer (…)Antigua
The building, erected between 1850 and 1860 and one of the oldest remaining of the entire old city of Montevideo, was falling apart around 1983, making active demolition work unnecessary. Key to preventing it from collapsing was the introduction of concrete into the structure and other architectonic “vitamins”. The reconstruction of the building went far beyond what the demanding “historical commission” required and was applauded by the authorities. (…)

Today, Singer and Clikberg remember the excavations and the objects that turned up under the surface of these colonial grounds and were turned into elements that determined the design, letting history determine its looks.
school UruguayThey worked for two years and the everything was literally done by hand, with a very low budget. Today in Pecarí (the shop on the lower fllor) the walls partially reveal a colonial wall of granite joined with mortar and it seems like all the different epochs of Uruguay can be found there, like layers on the walls. But the reconstruction has something more to offer than details. There is an aura, a climate that captivates the visitor. And that’s the nicest part about it.”


Continuing the artistic tradition of the building Academia Uruguay, in 2007 Academia Uruguay invited the argentine artist Diego Bugallo to paint the walls of one of the larger rooms of the building.

His three wall painting show typical sites of the old part of Montevideo. Pastel colors are dominant in his painting of Plaza Independencia and greys in the painting of the waterfront and the historical building of Academia Uruguay.

Apart from sharing the results of two weeks of hard work which made the shared housing part of the school even more welcoming, the academy’s students lived together with Diego during his stay in Uruguay and could witness the painting in the making.


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