Gustavo Montesinos built this seven story house in 1915 for his wife Isabel González and family of 12 children.
La Casa de los Arcos graces the banks of the Tomebamba River. In 2011 it was one of the sites for the Cuenca Art Bienal.
The house sits alongside the beautiful 3 de Noviembre path, on the Tomebamba River. I had always thought this was the front door, but Kabir Montesinos told me no, this was the back door, where horses would pull up delivering goods for the household.
The front door to the house was actually entered here, on Tarqui and La Condamine. The house was built from the top floor here, first, and then down seven flights to the river!
This was the front courtyard. The walls are covered with photos of the Montesinos González family The glass rooftop is relatively new. Previously, rainwater just fell into the courtyard, and flowed down built-in canals, and out to the river.
These are some of the canals inside the house used for rainwater.
View from the top of La Condamine and El Vado.
Looking down on the balcony, which is on the fifth level. Many family weddings and festivities took place here.
Kabir Montesinos uncle told him that the children used to take a piece of cardboard, and slide down the stairs – of all seven floors!
In 1970 the property was acquired by Guillermo Vázquez and Octavio Muñoz. Inside the house is this crypt which keeps Muñoz’s remains. There have been stories of ghosts in the house!
The building was purchased by the University of Cuenca in 2004, and now includes some offices of the University.
East side of the building.
Left photo – Casa del Arcos 1950. Right photo – Raquel Montesinos Gonzalez, on one of the house balconies.
These are some old photos showing the embankment before the house was built, and then afterwards. It was quite an engineering feat!
This area is called El Barranco del Tomebamba. where there are many beautiful homes built along the river.