The Casa de Barrientos, once a family home and now children’s education center, is a beautiful classic house complete with intricate verandas and well kept-gardens, sitting in the bustling center of Medellin‘s business district.
Built in 1874, the Casa de Barrientos was home to the Barrientos family until 1983 when it became a learning center with a focus of education for children.
Designed by French architect Carlos Emilio Carre, who also designed the Carre Building and the Metropolitan Cathedral, the house was restored to its beautiful simplicity in 2007.
The learning center has rooms full of books for children aged 0-12 as well having an open cafe and being connected to the health center next door giving access to a gym, swimming pool and public library for adults.
Although the house now stands out as an architectural gem in the center of the bustling business center, upon construction the Casa de Barrientos was one one of the more simple houses on La Playa road. However despite the somewhat simple outward appearance of the house, the affluent owners imported marble and other fine building materials from Europe giving the house its beautifully ornate inner decoration.
La Playa was, in its heyday, a road full of mansions owned by the most affluent families of Medellin. However, as time passed and owners moved on, the houses were torn down to build multiple homes on their land and yield higher returns.
Due to the Barrientos family living in the house until 1983 the house avoided re-sell and demolition. However, when the last family member died the house became a hotel, then a storage space until it reached a point in the 1990s when it was simply a disused space popular with squatters and prostitutes. Sadly during this time many of the more ornate original fittings were stolen, never to be seen again.
The Barrientos family were well-known in Medellin but maybe not for the best reasons. Unlike other affluent families at the time, they did not enjoy socializing and Mr Barrientos was known to not permit entry to his home unless the person was deemed of high enough social standing.
In 2003, the Casa de Barrientos became property of the city of Medellin. This meant the house could be restored to its former glory and declared a heritage site which now doubles as the beautiful education institute. The restoration took just a year and a half to complete with real attention given to detail, even down to the original keys being re-made in order for the original doors to be left as part of the structure.
The house is now run and maintained by Comfenalco Antioquia, a business foundation which funds and maintains various projects across the city.
Address: Calle 51 No. 45-57 Avenida La Playa
Telephone: 57(4) 575 22 50