World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Casa Wiechers-Villaronga

Villaronga House
Casa Wiechers-Villaronga
Casa Wiechers-Villaronga is located in Puerto Rico
Casa Wiechers-Villaronga
Location 106 Reina St. (NW corner of Reina and Mendez Vigo streets), Ponce, Puerto Rico
Area less than one acre
Built 1912
Architect Alfredo B. Wiechers
Architectural style Classical Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 84003151[1]
Added to NRHP August 24, 1984

The Casa Wiechers-Villaronga is a Neo-classical style mansion in Ponce, Puerto Rico designed and built in the early twentieth century. The house was acquired and restored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and now operates as the Museo de la Arquitectura Ponceña (Museum of Ponce Architecture). The house sits in the Ponce Historic Zone. The Villaronga Residence is an outstanding example of the Classical Revival style in used in Ponce designs in the early part of the 20th century and is one of two residences still standing of a series of houses designed and built by Alfredo B. Wiechers, so important to the architectural and cultural heritage of the city of Ponce.[2]


  • Significance 1
  • History 2
  • Architecture 3
  • Physical appearance 4
  • Owner 5
  • Restoration 6
  • Museum 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The Wiechers-Villaronga Residence was built in 1912 by Alfredo B. Wiechers, architect, for his own residence and studio, which he sold later to Mr. Julio Mercado, who in turn give it to his daughter, Elena Mercado and her husband Mr. Gabriel Villaronga as a wedding present. Wiechers was born in Ponce and studied at the School of Architecture in Paris, France, in 1901, where he obtained a gold medal for outstanding achievement and excellence during his professional studies. He graduated in 1905 and worked at the office of Enric Sagnier, a famous Spanish architect, in Barcelona, Spain. In 1911, he decided to work and live in Ponce; thus he designed and built his house and studio which he opened in 1912. In a short period of time, from 1911 to 1918, Wiechers was commissioned with various important buildings such as: the Loggia Aurora, Club Deportivo de Damas, the Havana Theatre, Banco of Ponce Building, and Santo Asilo de Damas Hospital among others, where he fully expressed the European Neo-Classical style which he learned from, and was influenced by, Enric Sagnier.[2]

The Neo-Classical influence is manifested in most of his buildings and particularly in the Villaronga residence for its richness and highly decorative details (pilasters, rusticated podium, cornices, "candelabra", relief and motifs, Ionic capitols, etc. are some of the decorative details of the Neo-Classical trend). The Villaronga Residence is an outstanding example of this style and is one of two residences still standing of a series of houses designed and built by Wiechers, so important to the architectural and cultural heritage of the city of Ponce.[2]

Of special importance is the fact that all the furniture is original, including the bathroom appliances. Most of the furniture belongs to the Modernisme style (Catalonian Art Nouveau) and were imported from Barcelona, Spain.[2] The hanging tapestry were painted by Librado Net.[3]


The structure was designed in 1911 by its original owner, the local Ponce architect Alfredo Wiechers. It was built in the same year by Elías Concepción Albizu. In 1918, the house was acquired by the Villaronga Mercado family.[4] The house was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1984 as Villaronga House.[1]


The structure is considered "treasure trove of culture",[5] a jewel amongst the many antique Ponce mansions that have been preserved and converted into museums. The building possesses elaborate neoclassical details, a majestic roof-top gazebo, and a full set of original and custom-made Catalan modernist furniture. There are also well-preserved shower and bathroom fixtures.[6]

Physical appearance

The Wiechers-Villaronga Residence is a "U" shaped, one-storied structure, measuring 68'-10" in width by 95'-2" in length, located at the northeast corner of Reina and Mendez Vigo Streets. Behind all its highly elaborated decoration, with European Baroque influence, essentially the structure is Neo-Classic in style, making a unique and yet elegant combination of both styles. The building rests on a rusticated stone podium; its facades and main walls are of brick masonry with some interior partitions and walls of the gallery and kitchen in wood. Wooden beams supports a galvanized zinc roof. The windows and doors of the building are wooden with movable louvers and fixed colored glass inlets. A variety of flooring material is used throughout the house: from native cement-colored tiles in the dining area and vestibule, 1" by 6" tongue-and-groove wood slats in the living area and bedrooms, and ceramic tiles in the bathroom, to marble tiles at the entry-way.[2]

The Baroque's influence is manifested immediately on the building's rounded corners, typical of these residence types in Ponce. The corner is framed by two rusticated Art Nouveau style. The facades are crowned with a continuous masonry cornice. On top of this cornice, a battlement-type parapet with sculptured lion faces and "candelabra" decorates the roof line of the structure.[2]

The main entrance is off-centred and located on Reina Street. The entrance hall is decorated with sculptured tiles and the door is located at the end of a marbled stairway. The interior is well kept and unaltered. The interior areas are painted in different colors and the walls have a decorative plastered Art-Nouveau frieze. The ceiling in most of the areas is decorated embossed tin with a continuous decorative molding at its corners. The gallery and part of the kitchen walls are wooden with fixed wood louvered windows used for better ventilation and light. Other interesting details on the house are: the bathroom fixtures, such as the shower stall and the ceramic wall tiles which were imported from Barcelona, Spain, the light fixtures—such as the ones at the dining-room, the master bedroom and living room—which were also imported from Spain, and a "medio punto" at the dining area, typical of the architecture of this Southern area of Puerto Rico.[2]


Alfredo Wiechers Pieretti himself designed the house. He was the son of a German colonist and his Corsican wife. He was born in Ponce and educated at the Paris' L'Ecole Spéciale d'Architecture. He lived for six years in Barcelona while working at Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia’s distinguished studio.[7] After leaving his architectural mark on the City of Ponce (Casa Serralles 1911, Casa Oppenheimer 1913) he sold the house to the Villaronga family and fled in 1919 to Barcelona, under political pressure. Although his prolific works (1911–1918) include hotels, stores, mausoleums, and even factories, the majority of his work was done in Ponce—he ventured out of Ponce only to design two structures for wealthy Catalonian families in the neighboring mountain towns of Adjuntas and Aibonito.[8]


The house was restored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) in the early 1990s and is now opened as the Museum of Puerto Rican Architecture. Its furnishings - all original - speak to the social history in the city during the early twentieth century. The various rooms of the residence display aspects of Ponce's architecture.[9]


The museum opened in 1996 as the home of the Ponce Architecture and Urban Planning Museum. The goal was to showcase Ponce's rich architectural heritage.[10][11][12] The structure is considered a "gem of fine Art Nouveau from a bygone era".[13] It has an extensive collection of displays and photos of master works from Blas Silva Boucher, Francisco Porrata Doria, Alfredo Wiechers Pieretti and other prominent local architects from the early 20th century.[14]

The city of Ponce, considered by some as the "irrefutable guardian of Puerto Rican criollismo",[15] was selected as a member of the prestigious Art Nouveau Route of the European Union for its "world preservation of modernist heritage".[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Armando Morales Pares, State Architect, S.H.P.O., Abelardo Gonzalez Aviles, Architect, Centro de Investigaciones Folkloricas de Puerto Rico (Ponce, Puerto Rico) (May 18, 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Villaronga Residence". National Park Service.  and Accompanying seven photos, exterior and interior, from 1984
  3. ^ Revista "Hola Puerto Rico" (magazine). Page 10.La Casa de la Calle Reina. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  4. ^ Built in 1911
  5. ^ Treasure trove of culture
  6. ^ Architecture
  7. ^ Designer trained in France
  8. ^ Did all his designs for Ponce families
  9. ^ Restored by the ICP
  10. ^ Now the Museum of Architecture
  11. ^ Ponce Museum of Architecture
  12. ^ Explore Puerto Rico By Harry S. Pariser. Page 243
  13. ^ A gem of a bygone era
  14. ^ Extensive collection of displays from 20th architects
  15. ^ Irrefutable guardian of Puerto Rican criollismo
  16. ^ Art Nouveau Route

External links

  • Museum of Ponce Architecture: Casa Wiechers Villaronga - Travel Ponce
  • National Park Service Images
  • Casa Reina #106
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.