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Alberto de Palacio

DE PALACIO, ALBERTO


Gordexola was the birthplace of this creative genius born on the nineteenth century, on January, 1856.
His parents married in Mexico where from they had to flee from because of he revolution, they died in an accident when he was a child. He tied to our town when he came to live at New Wharf at the Epalza’s family home as the result of the family ties that united him.

Although his hobby in those younger years was playing handball, his interest for the science made him devote himself to the study of Exact Sciences and Engineering, with eighteen years he obtained the first prize in an international competition on measures of geodetic bases. Little later he began studying architecture in Barcelona and he was the number one in his promotion.




Versatile and product of a romantic time, his creative curiosity led him to investigate other areas where he got degrees that did not looked for them and did not used. In Madrid and Paris he studied astronomy, geodesy, Medicine and Aviation, dominating several languages, and when he died he was translating El Quijote to Basque language.
He was thirty years old when began his works to find a solution for the communication of both sides of the estuary. After considering various possible solutions that do not obstruct the navigation, as it was a tunnel or bridges, rotating or high fixed, he devised what would be the first hanging bridge in the world. After patenting it he would have to fight tenaciously and tirelessly to overcome all the adverse vicissitudes that were appearing.


He had to designate the corporation that built and exploded it ,he had to get at the beginning of 1890 the R.O. of the Government ascribing the bridge and he had to find a firm area to support the bases of the bridge, so he had to deepen 18 meters under the sea level in equinoctial low tide and locate a competent contractor who ordered the work.
He contracted to a famous builder from Bilbao, this one died after being knocked down by a car, later he contracted the Frenchman Ferdinand Arnodin who definitively directed the work. The work concluded in 1893 and to its inauguration the Queen sent the infanta Isabel.


Apart from his studies on strength of materials, his restless spirit led him to such investigations as the ground fixings on seabed, for which it was required by the government of Brazil to realize some constructions gaining area to the sea, or in Madrid to establish the building of the Bank of Spain, on some underground currents.

His vision of the future architecture constitutes Atocha's station (Estación de Atocha) of Madrid, which cover is one of the greatest arc of lights built strapless and an authentic structural ostentation on his time. Also in Madrid he left the stamp of his technological knowledge in the Palace of Crystal of the Retirement (Palacio de Cristal del Retiro).

In his latest years he devoted himself to investigations on air navigation.

He founded the Spanish Federation of Air Navigators and in a pavilion closed, which ceded the Ministry of the War, worked on an invention which he claimed would be revolutionary.
The civil war supposed the end of his life. His country house in Madrid, where he kept thousands of engineering books and his inventions and projects, was destroyed and his dear hanging bridge was blow up in 1937. His health could not resist it and gravely injured he died in Las Arenas in 1939, at the foot of the twisted irons of his great work.

T

he remains of this great scientist, who was especially an honest and good man, went to the town that he loved so much where his family has a pantheon.

Coinciding with the celebration of an international conference of bridges ferryboats , in 1990, the Town hall published the book, " Puente Bizkaia. Padres y hermanos", of Alfredo Perez Trimiño of Portugalete.

 

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