The original designer

Martín Alberto de Palacio y Elissague

The original designer

The Great Vizcaya Hanging Bridge was designed by Mr Martín Alberto de Palacio y Elissague, who was without doubt an exceptional professional and a true scholar of his time.

His childhood was marked by the premature loss of his parents, which left a clear mark on him. From a very young age he lived in Portugalete in the Casa Epalza, where he quickly stood out as an extraordinary student.

In 1882 he graduate in architecture from the Barcelona School of Architecture, and was made top of his year by decision of the Teaching Staff and without having to do the final examination. After his studies he travelled to Paris where he would study many disciplines like engineering, mathematics, astronomy and medicine.

In 1883 he married Ms Leonor de Arana e Iturribarria who came from an old and wealthy Bilbao family. Four children were borne fruit of this marriage, three boys and a girl who died while only months old.

He performed many works and projects which all had innovation as their common denominator. In the period between1883-1884 he built the Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal) in Madrid’s Retiro Park, in collaboration with Ricardo Velázquez Bosco. In this work he applied innovative techniques for the period like a series of forged iron lateral arches and the roof’s glass vaults with surprising results.

Soon afterwards he started to study his most appreciated work: the Palacio Shuttle Bridge (Puente Transbordador Palacio), which would end up as the Vizcaya Hanging Bridge, the first of its kind in the world.

During his life Mr Alberto would execute a large number of works projects, studies and inventions which show the restlessness, solid and broad training, innovative spirit and genius of this great man, whose works come alive amongst us.

Mr Alberto entrusted the management of the works to a distinguished collaborator and outstanding constructor of the time, Mr Ferdinand Arnodín.

Arnodín, thanks to the experience acquired in the construction of the Vizcaya Hanging Bridge, and with the permission granted by Mr Alberto Palacio’s company, would participate in different ways of constructing shuttle bridges built around the world over the next years.