Iquitos, Peru - La Casa de Fierro
.La Casa de Fierro is located in the city of Iquitos in the jungle of Peru, in front of the major square between Próspero and Putumayo streets, and is a large iron residence built during the rubber boom at the end of the nineteenth century. First, the house had been previously bought by the Bolivian explorer and enterpreneur Antonio Vaca Diez. La Casa de Fierro is one of the finest as well as best-preserved samples of civil architecture in Peru. The walls, ceiling, and balcony are plastered in rectangular sheets of iron. It is said to be the first prefabricated house in the Americas. Although popularly said to have been designed by the French architect Gustave Eiffel, there is no evidence that this is true; the building does not reflect his architectural style. The unsubstantiated claims say it was built in the Belgian workshops of Les Forges D´Aiseau. Rubber baron Anselmo del Aguila bought it at the International Exposition of Paris in 1889. Once dismantled, it was brought in pieces to Iquitos (the metal sheets were carried by hundreds of men through the jungle), and assembled there in 1890. Since 1985, it is being administered by the Club Social de Iquitos; which has contributed in its restoration. Its second floor now has a restaurant. A fully different story of the origin of the house is told in Mario Vargas Llosa's 'Captain Pantoja and the Special Service' (Pantaleón y las visitadoras), a comic novel.