Neither a palace, nor a royal residence, nor a seat of government, this palace located on the current avenue in the heart of the city, is simply a monstrous water tank designed at the end of the 19th century to be part of the first network of Water flows from Buenos Aires.
This “palace” was inaugurated in 1894 as part of the nascent water distribution network of the city of Buenos Aires. The entire building was conceived as a true model to assemble. Its beautiful coatings were made in 130 thousand enameled bricks and 300,000 pieces of ceramics imported from England and Belgium, as a puzzle, each piece has its number and letter that corresponds to the one on the plans to know where it should be placed.
Inside, about 12 huge water tanks gave this building a total capacity of 72 million liters of water. This iron structure has three levels with four tanks in each level, to gain height and strength in the water. They are supported by 180 columns. Turning this building into one of the largest iron structures that was built in the 19th century outside Europe.
Since 1978 its water tanks are no longer operational, however, some administrative offices were installed inside the building, even a library operates within one of them and a museum in another. A marvel of engineering and design, unique work of its kind, true testimony of the rich and thriving Buenos Aires of the beginning of the last century.
The entrance to the museum is made through the first floor of the building, since the lower part is dedicated to the customer service offices of the water company. Upon entering the museum in its first room we will see the history of the building and the sanitary water network of Buenos Aires, maps, photos and different original objects of the building’s construction, such as some terracotta bricks stored as “spare parts” in case You need to replace those on the facade.
Another room is dedicated to the objects of the history of the water and sewer network, such as an extensive collection of old toilets of various shapes, pipes and faucets of all kinds. Although the most anticipated room is the one that goes inside the old water tanks and you can see all the hidden engineering of this building.
Although the museum has interactive screens and information boards in both English and Spanish of all the objects displayed here, if you want to know more about its history you can participate in one of the guided tours. They are made every dayMonday, Wednesday and Friday at11 am and they are totally free, you just have to announce yourself at the museum reception about 15 minutes before the start time.