Casa de Cisneros

Casa de Cisneros


Vivaldi´s Storm:


When “Casa de Cisneros” was built, Charles I of Spain was ruling and his son Philip II, was the future king. Ferdinand, the father of Charles died in 1516 and Charles became king. It was built 16 years after the revolt of the Comuneros finished, Charles won the war and executed the leaders of the revolt.


We know who sponsored it, but the historians are not sure about which architect built it.


Benito Jiménez de Cisneros​, nephew of the famous Cardenal Cisneros, Arzobispo of Toledo and interim governor of Reino de Castilla


It was finally built in 1537.


It was the headquarter of several institutions, such as the Superior War Council or the Embassy of Austria. It was the residence of some famous people such as Pedro Rodríguez de Campomanes, the general Narváez or the Duke of Rivas. Finally in 1909 the town hall of Madrid bought the building to protect it.



Made in a Plateresque style, the most outstanding feature of the original building is the facade facing Calle del Sacramento, which is formed by an arch of granite ashlar, on which stood the main balcony flanked by two beautiful columns. At that time, the facade facing Plaza de la Villa was the back of the building, giving access to the stables and corrals.


For the restoration of its garden, some elements from other old buildings in the city were incorperated in the design. Its facade was restored by Luis Benito at the start of the XX century. It was the back exit in the past.



 It is formed when hot magma or molten rock is pushed up from deep within the Earth and forced into the overlying rock in a process known as intrusion. It is then cooled and hardened and later becomes exposed as granite.

Granite is a light-colored igneous rock with grains large enough to be visible with the unaided eye. Granite is composed mainly of quartz and feldspar with minor amounts of mica, amphiboles, and other minerals. This mineral composition usually gives granite a red, pink, gray, or white color with dark mineral grains visible throughout the rock.


It is a rock that can be cut and polished to certain dimensions and shapes. It is stronger than marble, it is more resistant to deterioration, corrosion and the application of compression forces. We can also say that it is the most abundant rock of the continental crust.
Granite has been used extensively in construction for many year thanks to the resistance of the material and its resistance to erosion. Legendarily it was called stone berroqueña and the work with her was considered the most difficult of all.

In the 18th century a lot of the granite obtained from the quarries of Alpedrete, Cadalso de los Vidrios, Colmenar Viejo y Zarzalejo was used for the construction of many buildings such as this building, La plaza Mayor, la Puerta de Alcalá…


Porphyritic granite:

It is an intrusive rock with a porphyritic texture. Normally, they are found in volcanic rocks (Rhyolite, Andesite).

These are formed in volcanic rocks where one of the minerals begins to crystallize prior to eruption (therefore producing larger grains), with the rest cooling more rapidly after eruption.



It is made with the help of malleable products which, when it dries, it makes harden and give solidity to the work. These products are prepared with hydraulic products, which are cement and lime. The plaster occupies a separate place in the measure that can be used without other material. This particularity makes the plaster a mortar by itself.

The first mortar were built of clay or mud. It was discovered that if you burn limestone and combines with water it produces a substance called cement. It was used then in Egypt to build the pyramids. Then it was used in the Roman Empire thank for Vitruvius.

The roman civilization used the mortar as a union material for stone or brick pieces, because gave more stability to the buildings. With the pass of the time, this practice became very common. During the Middle Ages and the beginnings of the Modern Age, the mortar that they used had bad quality and was made of calcareous rock and gypsum. At the second half of the XVIII century, the calcareous rock was replaced by a mixture of lime, sand and water, also known as “Hormigón romano”.



It is a sedimentary rock which can be precipitated from water,  non-clastic, chemical or inorganic limestone. It can be secreted by marine organisms such as algae and coral, this would be called biochemical limestone. It can also be formed from the shells of dead sea creatures, this is called bioclastic limestone. Some limestones form from the cementation of sand  or mud by calcite, called clastic limestone. And these often have the appearance of sandstone or mudstone.

Limestone is mostly formed of calcium carbonate (calcium carbonate is composed of calcium), carbon and oxygen, it’s represented as CaCo³.

It is a sedimentary rock formed underwater, and can have coral or the shells of other small creatures

It is permeable, there are pores, joints or cracks through which the water can enter. It can be slowly dissolved by water.

They correspond to the “Piedra de Redueña”, which was exploited in different areas of Madrid, such as Guadalix de la Sierra, El Molar, Ventura or Torrelaguna. They were also extracted in quarries located outside Madrid, receiving the generic denomination of “Piedra de Tamajón” (Guadalajara).

In Spain there are several limestone quarries that are located in different places of Madrid and Spain. There is one in Lavapies(Madrid), another one in Levante(Spain) and Colmenar de la oreja.



They used brick for the outside walls, because in that time, Boral Bricks were the types of bricks that were created by the  “old-fashioned way,” formed in a sand-dusted wooden box used in buildings. The solid bricks feature slight irregularities and a softer shape than mimics from the 17th century look.

The process of manufacturing of bricks from clay involves preparation of clay, molding and then drying and burning of bricks. The bricks are building materials which are generally available as rectangular blocks. The bricks do not require any dressing and brick laying is very simple compared to stone masonry.

Is made up of clay and the composition of the clay is kaolin, slate, feldspar, sodium dioxide, limestone, dolomite, calcium sulphate, silica, alumina, iron oxide, pyrite and water.

Clay is obtained in quarries where it is parked for a long time. After a year, the clay is transported to the feeder box, initiating in this the first stage and later will be used in the manufacturing process. The clay by means of a  conveyor belt is raised to a kneader, where it is freed of impurities. Then, it passes to the rotofilter, where by means of steel rollers the pellets are formed and the metallic impurities are removed. Finally the clay is deposited in silos. They were transported by mules and in carruages.




The city council bought the building to the of Countess of Oñate in 1909 and ordered a reform to the architect Luis Bellido, also responsible for reforming the rest of the square. The restoration of Bellido conserved decorative elements that were covered and the main staircase, as well as the Plateresque style of the building. In the facade we can see more actual materials used in the reformation, such as granite.



One of the characters related to Casa de Cisneros was Antonio Perez, the secretary of Felipe II.

Felipe II was in love with the princess of Eboli, but she was the lover of Antonio Pérez. The other secretary, called Juan de Austria which comes from Flanders, discovered the relationship between Felipe and the princess, and Antonio sent some mercenaries of to kill him. So those responsible were sent to jail and the princess was imprisoned and tortured at Casa de Cisneros. In the year 1590, Antonio dress up with women clothes and he managed to escape and he hided in Zaragoza.






Beatriz Torres, Marina López, Pedro Olmos, Sebastian Bernal and Carlos García