Alfredo Wiechers Pieretti

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Alfredo Wiechers Pieretti was a Puerto Rican architect from Ponce, Puerto Rico. He was an expositor of the Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau architectural styles, doing most of his work in his hometown of Ponce. Today, Alfredo Wiechers' city residence, located in the Ponce Historic Zone and which he designed himself, is a museum, the Museo de la Arquitectura Ponceña. After enriching his hometown city with some of the most architecturally exquisite buildings, he moved to Spain claiming political persecution by the authorities in the Island.

Alfredo Wiechers Pieretti
Born26 March 1881
Died15 July 1964[1]
Resting placeMontjuïc Cemetery
NationalityPuerto Rican
Alma materÉcole Spéciale d'Architecture
Known forEngineering, Architect
Notable work
Casa Serrallés,
Oppenheimer House,
Blasini Residence,
Quinta Vendrell,
Club Deportivo de Ponce,
Logia Aurora,
Club Deportivo de Damas,
Teatro Habana (aka, Teatro Rivoli),
Banco of Ponce,
Hospital Santo Asilo de Damas,
Casa Wiechers-Villaronga,
Monumento a los heroes de El Polvorín
MovementNeoclassical architecture
Spouse(s)Carmen Gilet[2][3]

Early yearsEdit

Alfredo Braulio Wiechers Pieretti[4] was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on 26 March 1881.[5] He was the youngest of five children born to the German Georg Friederich Wiechers Kelm and Isabel Pieretti Marsaud, a Ponceña woman of Corsican ancestry.[6][7] Alfredo's father was a businessman from Hamburg, Germany who settled in Ponce around 1860 and in 1865 he was named Prussia's consul for Ponce. He was re-appointed in 1872 and 1874, at a time when Ponce was the capital of the southern region of Puerto Rico (San Juan was the capital of the northern region).[8][9]

TrainingEdit

Upon the death of his father in Ponce, Wiechers Pieretti, still an adolescent, came to be under the guardianship of Juan Lacot, the husband of Rosa Wiechers Pieretti, Alfredo's oldest sister. A short while later they moved to Barcelona, and Alfredo started studies in Paris at the École Spéciale d'Architecture. In 1901, he was awarded 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.[10] He lived in Barcelona for six years while working at Enric's distinguished studio.[11]

In 1908 Wiechers Pieretti married Ponce-born Carmen Gilet in Barcelona, and in 1910 he returned to Puerto Rico, settling in Ponce.[12]

His residenceEdit

Alfredo Wiechers returned to Ponce in 1910 and, within two years, he built what is known today as the Wiechers-Villaronga Residence. He built it as his own residence and studio. He later sold the pompous home to Mr. Gabriel Villaronga.[13] In a short period of time, from 1911 to 1918, Wiechers was commissioned with various important buildings such as: the Logia Aurora, Club Deportivo de Damas, the Havana Theater, Banco of Ponce Building, and Santo Asilo de Damas Hospital among others, where he fully expressed the European Neo-Classical style which he had learned from Enric Sagnier.[14] Alfredo Wiechers lived in his house for seven years.[15]

His worksEdit

 
The Casa Oppenheimer, one of Wiechers' designs

After leaving his architectural mark on the city of Ponce (Casa Serralles, Oppenheimer House) he sold his 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 Catalan families in the neighboring mountain towns of Adjuntas and Aibonito.[16] His work in Puerto Rico includes the designs for Logia Adelphia, Don Eugenio Serralles Residence (Casa Serrallés), the Oppenheimer House, and the Blasini Residence. He also designed the Club Deportivo de Ponce (Ponce Sports Club), the Vendrell House, and homes for the Gelpí and Arce families.[17] Wiechers designed and built Casa Serrallés (not to be confused with Castillo Serrallés) in 1911. This commodious residence is located in downtown Ponce, at the southeast corner of Calle Isabel and Calle Salud and is currently home to the Museo de la Música Puertorriqueña. In 1911, Wiechers also designed the Mausoleo del Cuerpo de Bomberos of the City of Ponce (Mausoleum of the Corps of Firemen of the City of Ponce) located at the Cementerio Civil de Ponce on Calle Cementerio Civil in barrio Canas Urbano.[18]

He also designed Villa Julita also known as Casa Ulrich, a residence located in Aibonito, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[19]

Later years and legacyEdit

In 1918 Wiechers returned with his family to Spain, claiming political persecution by the authorities in Puerto Rico. After this, he never performed as an architect again for health reasons as well as not being on possession of a license to practice architecture. He died on 15 July 1964,[20] and was interred at the Montjuïc Cemetery in Barcelona at the Mausoleum of the Gilet family.[21]

He is honored at Ponce's Park of the Illustrious Ponce Citizens.[22]

The Architecture and Construction Archives at the University of Puerto Rico (AACUPR) is the custodian of the Alfredo Wiecher Collection (1896–1986). Approximately two cubic feet in size, the collection contains architectural drawings, photographs, and publications. The Architectural Drawings Series contains 128 projects organized chronologically. The collection was transferred from the Puerto Rico Architects Association in 1998.

He designed Quinta Vendrell, Portugues Ward, jct. of PR 143 and PR 123, Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jorge Rigau. Puerto Rico 1900: Turn-of-the-Century Architecture in the Hispanic Caribbean, 1890-1930. New York: Rizzoli International Publishers. 1992. page 131.
  2. ^ La Casa de la Calle Reina. Revista "Hola Puerto Rico" (magazine). Retrieved November 15, 2010. Archived December 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ La Casa de la Calle Reina. Revista "Hola Puerto Rico" (magazine). Retrieved November 15, 2010. Archived February 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ La Presencia Germanica en Puerto Rico. Haydee Reichard de Cancio. PREB: Nuestra Trayectoria Historica y Cultural. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  5. ^ Auxiliar descriptivo de la Colección Alfredo Wiechers. Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla Library. (A Horizon Information Portal.) Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  6. ^ Auxiliar descriptivo de la Colección Alfredo Wiechers. University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla Library. (A Horizon Information Portal.) Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  7. ^ Museum of Ponce Architecture: Casa Wiechers Villaronga. TravelPonce.com Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  8. ^ La Presencia Germanica en Puerto Rico. By Haydee Reichard de Cancio. PREB: Nuestra Trayectoria Historica y Cultural. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  9. ^ Auxiliar descriptivo de la Colección Alfredo Wiechers. University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla Library. (A Horizon Information Portal.) Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  10. ^ Armando Morales Pares, State Architect, S.H.P.O., Abelardo Gonzalez Aviles, Architect, Centro de Investigaciones Folkloricas de Puerto Rico (Ponce, Puerto Rico), State Historic Preservation Officer, Certifying Officer. May 18, 1984. In National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form - Villaronga Residence. United States Department of the Interior. National Park Service. (Washington, D.C.) Page 3. Listing Reference Number 84003151. 24 August 1984.
  11. ^ Museum of Ponce Architecture: Casa Wiechers Villaronga. TravelPonce.com Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  12. ^ Auxiliar descriptivo de la Colección Alfredo Wiechers. Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla Library. (A Horizon Information Portal.) Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  13. ^ Armando Morales Pares, State Architect, S.H.P.O., Abelardo Gonzalez Aviles, Architect, Centro de Investigaciones Folkloricas de Puerto Rico (Ponce, Puerto Rico), State Historic Preservation Officer, Certifying Officer. May 18, 1984. In National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form - Villaronga Residence. United States Department of the Interior. National Park Service. (Washington, D.C.) Page 3. Listing Reference Number 84003151. 24 August 1984.
  14. ^ Armando Morales Pares, State Architect, S.H.P.O., Abelardo Gonzalez Aviles, Architect, Centro de Investigaciones Folkloricas de Puerto Rico (Ponce, Puerto Rico), State Historic Preservation Officer, Certifying Officer. 18 May 1984. In National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form - Villaronga Residence. United States Department of the Interior. National Park Service. (Washington, D.C.) Page 3. Listing Reference Number 84003151. 24 August 1984.
  15. ^ Auxiliar descriptivo de la Colección Alfredo Wiechers. Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla Library. (A Horizon Information Portal.) Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  16. ^ Museum of Ponce Architecture: Casa Wiechers Villaronga. TravelPonce.com Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  17. ^ Auxiliar descriptivo de la Colección Alfredo Wiechers. University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla Library. (A Horizon Information Portal.) Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  18. ^ 100 años del Mausoleo de Bomberos . La Perla del sur. Ponce Puerto Rico. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  19. ^ "Villa Julita" (PDF). National Parks. United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  20. ^ Jorge Rigau. Puerto Rico 1900: Turn-of-the-Century Architecture in the Hispanic Caribbean, 1890-1930. New York: Rizzoli International Publishers. 1992. page 131.
  21. ^ Auxiliar descriptivo de la Colección Alfredo Wiechers. University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla Library. (A Horizon Information Portal.) Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  22. ^ Architecture. TravelPonce. Retrieved 13 July 2012.

External linksEdit

The Alfredo Wiecher Collection electronic finding aid may be consulted through http://hip.upr.edu:85/ipac20/ipac.jsp?profile=aac--1#focus