If you happen to be in Humacao, Puerto Rico and you want to see places other than the beaches and forests that abound here, then you should check out Casa Roig. It’s a Prairie School style structure that was built for a wealthy sugar planter, by renowned architect Antonin Nechodoma.
The Prairie School was considered a residential architectural movement that started in mainland US (specifically, Chicago) and became very popular during that time, in the US, Europe and Australia. Nechodoma adopted the design and unique style of prominent American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is believed that Casa Roig was one of his best works and is currently the only residential structure built by him that still remains complete to this day.
A Little History
This beautiful home in Humacao was built in 1919 for a sugar baron by the name of Antonio Roig Toruellas. He commissioned Antonio Nechodoma, who was a very well known architect in Puerto at the time, and in turn, he designed the façade which had wide eaves, lovely mosaic work, and geometrically designed stained glass windows. Casa Roig was Puerto Rico’s very first 20th Century building that got listed in the National Historic Places registry.
The Roig family occupied Casa Roig until 1956 but after that, it was closed until 1977 when Antonio Roig’s heirs decided to donate it to the University of Puerto Rico. The university in turn made it their mission to restore the house to its former glory and today it stands as a museum and cultural center where visitors can find numerous historical photos, exhibits and classic furniture pieces.
Restoration of the casa took a long time because of the amount of work that needed to be done. Fortunately, the University managed to find the original design plans for the building and they also replicated the original window fasteners and door knobs. They hired wood experts and professional artisans to ensure that the restored house would stay authentic and would look as close to the original as possible.
Visiting Casa Roig
Today, the house is considered by many as a masterpiece and the vast number of exhibits and art pieces inside the museum make it even more enticing to tourists and locals. Casa Roig has hosted exhibits of work done by famous artists including Jose Alicea, Luis Torres, Maris Luisa Penne Castillo, Sandra Martinez, Ruben Rios, and Daniel Lind Ramos – just to name a few.
The museum is located on Antonio Lopez 66 and it is open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM from Wednesday to Sunday. If you’re in the area, you won’t miss it. It stands out from among rows of small shops and doctor’s offices. There is no admission fee to go inside the museum but you can make a donation which will definitely go a long way in protecting and maintaining the Casa.
You may also call the museum at 787-852-8380 for more information.