Home  WHAT TO SEE  Manuel María Smith – Route through the neighbourhood of Neguri

Manuel Mª Smith

Photograph on loan from Getxoko Liburutegiak – Getxo Municipal Libraries.

Manuel María Smith represents a whole generation of Basque architects who left their mark on Getxo in the early years of the 20th century. Smith listened to Bilbao society at the time and understood perfectly their taste for all things English, as reflected in sport, fashion...as well as in architecture.

The route starts in the square beside Neguri metro station, which is most appropriate, as the idea behind the neighbourhood of Neguri belonged to railway entrepreneurs.

Guided by Manuel Mª Smith, we will be visiting Neguri’s most iconic corners, which he helped to give an identity, as a place designed for and by the Basque upper middle-classes in those years. We will be looking at some of the more characteristic buildings, such as Los Rosales, the church of El Carmen and the Eguzkialde Palace (popularly referred to as "the mayoress’s house")

MANUEL M.ª SMITH (1879-1956)

Manuel Mª Smith Ibarra descends from Irish settlers who arrived in Bilbao in the 18th century. In 1896, he began his studies at the School of Architecture in Madrid, where he was so successful that in 1902 King Alfonso XIII in person awarded him the medal of most distinguished student.

Besides excelling in the field of architecture, he was also a prominent member of the upper middle-classes to which he belonged, as both his father’s and his mother’s surnames carried as much prestige as any one of his customers. He was also a great patron of the arts, founding the Bilbao Association of Friends of the Opera and being a founding member of the Philharmonic Society.

In recognition of his career and prolific contribution to Getxo, on 14 December 1957 the Local Authority named a street after him in Las Arenas.

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