A sumptuous, elegant mansion built towards the end of the 19th century as the residence of the wealthy entrepreneur Luis Cousiño and his wife, Isidora Goyenechea. Today, it is one of the most important museums in Santiago.
Its rooms, all decorated with materials brought from Europe, have hand-carved furniture and parquet flooring, embroidered drapes and Italian majolica ceramics, echoing the economic prosperity of the period.
The use of the latest technological advancements of the day, such as an elevator and the first electric generator in South America, add up to the luxury and opulence of the building.
After being inhabited by three generations, in 1940 the family decided to donate it to the Municipality of Santiago, which set it aside as a place for accommodating distinguished guests such as Golda Meier, Charles de Gaulle and King Baudouin of Belgium, among others.
Three decades later, it was finally established as a museum, preserving all the architectural and decorative affluence found in its brocades, tapestries, marble work, noble woods, Sevres porcelain vases, pictorial and gunsmith collections.
After the 2010 earthquakey, the palace was closed. In September 2016 they completed the restoration work, which allowed repair the damage; recover the original facades and discover an old cellar that had had the building, which is a place for exhibitions.
In 1981, it was declared a National Monument.
This palace was built between 1870 and 1878 for Luis Cousiño and his wife, Isidora Goyenechea.
The Cousiño Goyenechea were a wealthy family who owned the Chañarcillo silver mines, the coal mine in Lota, ranches, country estates and their own fleet of ships, apart from the Viña Cousiño-Macul vineyard, still preserved by their descendants.
They lived in a period when it was fashionable to build mansions in the style of the grand French palaces, and the Cousiño Palace is a clear reflection of such an influence.
French architect Paul Lathoud, who followed the neo-classical style, was commissioned to design and construct the residence. The family used its fleet of ships to bring all that was needed from France.
Luis Cousiño died of tuberculosis at the age of 38, in 1873, while the Palace was still under construction, so that he did not see the finished work.
The residence was inhabited by Isidora Goyenechea and their six children. Three generations lived there up to 1938. In 1940, the property was auctioned by Arturo Cousiño Lyon, Isidora’s grandson. After the first round of bidding, the then Mayor of Santiago, Pacheco Sty, reached an agreement with the heirs to have the Palace assigned to the municipality.
The mayor acquired it to make it into an official residence, accommodating such famous guests as Golda Meir, premier of Israel; presidents López Mateos of Mexico, Lübke of Germany, Saragat of Italy, De Gaulle of France, and King Baudouin of Belgium, among others.
In 1968, due to a failure in the electrical system, the first floor was completely destroyed by a fire. In 1977, under the mayorship of Patricio Mekis, Cousiño Palace was opened to the city as a museum.
The exhibit focuses on the different bedrooms, halls and rooms of the palace. Highlights include:
Furnished in the Louis XVI style. In the period, upholstery was pale red material, hand embroidered with gold and silver thread.
The room has a French red marble fireplace with bronze edging and the family monogram made in wrought iron in the center.
So called because of the mirror frames and the coffered walls and ceiling in gold laminate. This is also the room of mirrors facing each other to give the feeling of amplitude.
This room preserves the original furniture and wall upholstery, which is in French velvet matching the drapes.
A wrought iron construction with transparent and cobalt blue glazing. Flooring is Italian majolica tiles; through a floor grate copper piping can be seen through which hot water would flow to heat this area and the Central Hall.
Main Dining Room
The ceiling in this room is in carved walnut, with eight Italian majolica plates. The upholstery on walls and chairs is in golden and polychrome pyrography leather, an original work from Cordoba, Spain.
The highlight here is the central Bohemian crystal chandelier, which weighs half a ton and is fitted with 60 light bulbs. A twin chandelier can be seen in the Municipal Theater of Santiago.
Dieciocho, 438, Santiago.