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University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras Where Gumbo Was (#208)


Congratulations to George G and GarryRF who correctly identified the Tower at the flagship campus of The University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras.


The University opened originally as a teacher's college in 1893, while Puerto Rico was still under Spanish rule. It had two buildings, one to train teachers and second that served as model school, for teachers to practice their craft.

During the 1930's the United States government provided money for construction projects on the island, and UPR which allowed UPR to expand its campus. The campus built many buildings beginning in 1935, but the centerpiece is El Torre. Designed by Rafael Carmoega, who was the State Architect of Puerto Rico, and named after Franklin D Roosevelt, the tower includes tributes to many different styles and political ideals.


I was struck by the ceramic bas relief work around the door. If you look at the base of each column there is a shield to represent the main areas of study in the university.


Science and Medicine


Law and Humanities

Above the door are coats of arms of three universities: Harvard (on the right), St. Mark's in Lima Peru (Left), and UPR (center).


In the entrance is a dedication to the idea of Pan Americanism, the national symbols of countries from throughout the western hemisphere


Rio Piedras and The University of Puerto Rico is far off of the usual tourist scene on the island. I was able to take a tour through the auspices of the Puerto Rico Historic Buildings Drawing Society, which works to educate people on the architectural patrimony of Puerto Rico. They offer many walking tours in the San Juan area.


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