The main exponents of Indian architecture in Green Spain

The term “Indian” refers to all those Spaniards who, from the 16th to the early 20th centuries, were forced to leave their places of origin to seek a livelihood or a better quality of life in different South American countries. The desire to build a prosperous future was effective for many of them, who, far from forgetting their provenance once they had achieved a high social status, sent money to improve the conditions of their former neighbors, thus contributing to the construction of houses, roads , churches or schools. The materials and design of the buildings reflected the success and fortune achieved by those emigrants in their American life.
In spite of the eclecticism that characterized the architecture from that time, there are features common to all constructions. Some of them are the stairs, which usually preside the entrances to the buildings; its colorful decoration; a landscaped environment; at least one tower on one side of the building, and some glazed gallery. In their interior stays, the exotic or allegorical paintings of romantic influences usually take center stage.
The northern territories of Spain were key to the development of Indian architecture, as they were the main centers of emigration, because of its good positioning for boat trips. We present some of the points of obligatory visit for all those who want to discover the beauty and the historical insights of the time of the Indians.


The great Indian nucleus of Galicia is represented by the municipality of Ribadeo, in Lugo. In the urban area, there are exponents such as the Torre de los Moreno, a work completed in 1915 and, as a novelty, was one of the first homes with its own elevator. Its historical relevance led it to be declared a Cultural Interest (BIC).
The largest Indian concentration in the city is located along the entire street San Roque, plagued by homes in which large windows, wrought iron fences and portals with decorative shapes stand out. The influences of all these houses go from South America to the Paris of the late nineteenth century, a country from which they rescued elements of Art Nouveau.

Torre de los Moreno


The town of Colombres is home to one of the main exponents of Indian architecture in Spain. This is the construction known as Quinta de Guadalupe. This house was built at the beginning of the 20th century by Iñigo Noriega Laso, a returned emigrant from Mexico. Until 1986, this building was dedicated to social assistance after being acquired by the Spanish State. It was at this time that the Principality of Asturias took the initiative to turn it into the headquarters of the Indian Archive Foundation. Visitors, in addition to making contact with the decorative style of the time, can be informed, in the Museum of Emigration, about all the details that surround this social phenomenon.

Llanes is another key point to delve into this historic architectural style in Asturias. Among the most significant constructions of this municipality is the Casino, an impressive building of modernist inspiration designed by the architect Juan Álvarez Mendoza in the first decade of the 20th century. The Casino, promoted by the Society Casino of LLanes, has in its decoration countless luxurious details, such as Venetian mirrors or allegorical drawings on the ceilings.
Although more modest than the casino, in Llanes are located other buildings such as Villa Flora, also known as House of Lions, by the two statues of these felines that preside the main entrance. Like the Quinta de Guadalupe, it is the work of an emigrant to Mexico, Manuel García, and dates from 1906.

Quinta de Guadalupe


We have to travel to the town of Comillas to discover the most treasured Indian treasure of Cantabria: the Capricho de Gaudí. This palace building arose from a commission that the emigrante Máximo Díaz de Quijano did to the Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí in 1883. The objective was to erect a summer house, and the result was a construction with oriental reminiscences and multiple references to music, great passion of its owner. Next to the Casa Vicens, in Barcelona, ​​the Capricho is the first work of Gaudí.
Other of the Indian constructions of Cantabria were adapted to hotel uses. This is the case of the Casona Torre de Quijas, in Santillana del Mar, or the Casona Azul de Corvera, located in the Toranzo Valley.

Casona Azul de Corvera


If in the Basque Country there is an exponent of Indian architecture, this is the Karrantza Valley, located within the Encartaciones region, in Vizcaya. In this place, predominate the houses and the familiar villas of the time. Among them, we can find, in the neighborhood of La Concha, the Casa Santisteban Lezcano, the Chalet Chalet Hernaiz or the House Jose Irastorza Altuna.

Chalet Hernaiz