The Pereda Building was first a hotel, subsequently the headquarters of Banco Santander for almost a century and presently it is in the process of being transformed into a cultural and leisure space.
The building, which dates from 1795, was rebuilt in 1880 after one of the fires that periodically ravaged the city. When Banco Santander acquired the building in 1919, it was both a hotel and a regatta club. To convert it into its financial headquarters, inaugurated in 1923, the Cantabrian architect Ricardo Bastida was commissioned to remodel the building.
Over 30 years passed before the second half of the building was added. The need to extend the headquarters was evident given the Bank's growth. Javier González de Riancho, also from Cantabria and author of other representative works of Santander such as the Palacio de la Magdalena, was the architect who devised the connection of the two blocks that exist today.
The construction work began in 1958. Numbers 9 and 10 of the Paseo were acquired and a twin building was constructed. To join the two parts, Riancho designed a monumental arch that is still the symbol of the Pereda Building today. Through this arched structure, the communication between the two buildings was established with a passage on the upper level.
The façade included four statues by the sculptor Blanes representing the arts, culture, commerce and navigation. In the lower frieze an allegory of banking protects four other sculptural symbols: industry, blast furnaces, mining and sports. The new layout of the building was inaugurated in 1963.
Throughout these different periods, the Pereda building has been a point of reference for the city. Its exceptional location on the Paseo de Pereda, linking the sea and the gardens with the city centre, has always given it a leading role in Santander's urban planning.
In 2024 this building will enter a new phase. It will leave behind the spirit of the 20th century bank headquarters as a closed structure, representative of a solid and resistant institution, to become a meeting place, a space in which to interact, open to citizens.
On this occasion, David Chipperfield, an essential figure in contemporary architecture, is leading the transformation to adapt the building to its new social and cultural function.
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The intervention on the Pereda Building began in 2020 and will finish at the end of 2023 with the inauguration of a new cultural and leisure space.