#BeyondTheWall : old Casa Cuna building

Today we want to continue with our #BeyondTheWall challenge to find some of the wonders of Seville that few people know about.

Beyond the wall, that is, beyond the limits that tourism does not cross and that even the Sevillians consider of little value, there are priceless and very unknown jewels. Today we will pay attention to one of these jewels: the building of the old Casa Cuna de Sevilla, built in 1914. Have you ever heard of this place? Read on to find out more about what it is.

The former Casa Cuna de Sevilla is located on Avenida de la Mujer Trabajadora (right next to Miraflores Park) and it is currently the headquarters of the San Telmo Foundation. But today, we will see what is the history of this building and its characteristics.

Originally, it was an orphanage that took in homeless children from Seville. During this time, Seville was growing as a city. As always happens in these situations, the most affected were the children. Many were orphaned or abandoned on the streets. Just in 1913, it was founded an organization called Board of Ladies Protectors and Conservators of Foundlings (In Spanish: Junta de Señoras Protectoras y Conservadoras de Niños Expósitos de Sevilla). And in little more than a year, they managed to organize the construction of this building. Impressive, isn't it?

 

Numerous illustrious women who wanted to fight for the good of our city participated in this project. Many of them were noble women who contributed money, goods, buildings and, above all, a lot of effort, in order to carry this project forward.

However, at the beginning, the center's living conditions were very poor. Not by intention, since the people in charge of the Casa Cuna did the work on a completely voluntary basis, but because of the lack of budget and the large number of children there. As we have already mentioned, at that time there were many orphaned children, so the center filled up quickly.

But a few years later, more and more contributors supported the place with their donations, giving rise to a center where children could spend their childhood in a happy and fulfilling way.

 

From 1938 to 1989, the congregation in charge of this residence were Las Hermanas de la Caridad. In May 1990, after the cessation of the activity, the building was ceded to the San Telmo Foundation.

And since we have learned a little about its history, we are now going to focus on something we love: the art and architecture of the building.

As we have mentioned, it was built in 1914 by the Sevillian architect Antonio Gómez Millán, although later several reforms and extensions were made.

 

We can quickly identify its style: Sevillian "regionalismo" (an architectural trend that glosses and synthesizes some aspects of the different regional architectures of Spain). This style was very popular and was used in most of the buildings of the time. The exterior is made of brick, with different tiles, white columns and iron sconces.

The windows and doors, both of the main facade and the interior, are rounded and with Renaissance influence. But, although the construction is quite sober and classic, it has many decorative details of Mudejar style. Also the use given to the columns is reminiscent of Nasrid art.

In addition to being a "regionalist" building, it was decided to maintain a simple and cheap architecture. Remember that this was a place where hundreds of people and children were going to pass through, so more money and effort was invested in functionality and not so much in ornamentation.

 

In 1917 the first pavilion was enlarged, creating two new rooms on both sides of the entrance. But the biggest reform occurred in 1922, when a chapel was added (a fundamental space in this type of place, since religion was considered essential). This space was especially used after 1939, when the Casa Cuna was left in charge of the Congregación de la Caridad. This chapel has a much older baroque main altarpiece, from the end of the 18th century.

Apart from the buildings, it has extensive gardens. In them, there is a recreation of the Virgin of Lourdes of the grotto of Massabielle (France).

 

For all these reasons, we consider this building to be one of the essential visits that every tourist in Seville must make. Besides, did you know that it was proclaimed Bien de Interés Cultural (Cultural Interest Asset) in 1983? And yet, it is one of the great unknowns of Seville.

Do you know more forgotten Sevillian architecture? Share it with us by leaving a comment here or on our social media (@sevilla4real) and participate in the #BeyondTheWall challenge!

 

Information and pictures from La Sevilla Que No Vemos, Sevilla Ciudad and Edificios de Sevilla.