Palacio de las Aguas Corrientes

Notable Building in Congreso & Tribunales

Completed in 1894 when Buenos Aires was booming, this gorgeous, palace-like waterworks building has an elaborate exterior intended to convey the importance of the purified water it housed in huge tanks. On the 1st floor is the small and quirky Museo del Agua y de la Historia Sanitaria, where the collection of ornate tiles, faucets, ceramic pipe joints, and old toilets and bidets is displayed. Guided visits offer a backstage glimpse of the building’s inner workings.

Following cholera, typhoid and yellow fever epidemics, in 1886 city officials commissioned the English engineer John Batemen to plan a water purification system that would meet the needs of BA's rapidly growing population, the first of its kind in the Americas; the Palacio de las Aguas Corrientes housed the water tanks. Topped by French-style mansard roofs, the building's facade consists of 170,000 glazed tiles and 130,000 enameled bricks, all shipped from Europe and assembled here. It still houses the offices of Argentina's state water company AySA, whose customers come here to pay their utility bills.