Villa Urrutia, house of Indianos in Güeñes


Leandro Urrutia, an Indiano who had made a lot of money growing and selling cotton in Mexico, was born in Galdames but, once he retired, he lived in Santurtzi and fell in love with Güeñes, then a charming little village surrounded by mountains and a romantic river in the Valley of Salcedo (now called Encartaciones). So he built this amazing house just for the summer, though he could never enjoy it, as he died 2 years before it was finished in 1910.

The architect was Emiliano Pagazaurtundua, from Portugalete, who used two styles: French Second Empire and some traces of Modernism, as the curves in the balconys or the colours on the roof. The house was huge: 4 floors with a kitchen downstairs and a church on the 3rd floor, which unfortunately was destroyed when the building was converted into the city hall back in 1974.

Some other interesting things of the house are the windows, designed by Bilbao’s Amadeo Deprit, or the wooden walls and doors, of a supreme quality. Inside you can also see some furniture and the old tiling of the bathroom, which deserves a visit. The gardens are also amazing, including a huge sequoia and some other trees brought from America. The house belonged to Urrutia’s inheritors, who sold it to the local Garay Llaguno family, who could not afford it in the seventies.

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