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Iron Palace

Luanda, Angola

Palácio de Ferro (English: Iron Palace) is a historical building in the Angolan capital Luanda, believed to have been designed and built by – or by someone associated with – Gustave Eiffel, builder of the world-famous icons, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

The history of the structure is shrouded in mystery since no official record of it exists. It is believed to have been pre-built in the 1890s in France and was destined to be placed in Madagascar via boat. Instead, the building ended-up in Angola's Skeleton Coast after the ship carrying it was drifted by the notorious Benguela currents. Portuguese rulers of the colony then claimed the ship along with all its contents, including the palace.

Some records indicate that Companhia Comercial de Angola, the largest company in Africa at the time, acquired the Palace at the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century.During the colonial period, the building was already considered to be of great prestige and was used as an art center. After Angola's independence it was classified as cultural heritage.

After more than one hundred years of history, four artists decided to recreate and eternalize the "Memory and Restoration Process of the Iron Palace".

Nuno Gonçalves, Vitor Gama, Cornélio Caley and Arleth Leandro, who is also the coordinator of the Palace, were inspired by the German architect Otto Greger, and his research on the Iron Palace, and recreated an exhibition with a floating concept, where the pieces appear suspended, thus allowing to appreciate its architecture, the floor and a whole structure of the pillars in circulating iron.

Due to the structure of the Iron Palace, its authorship has always been associated with the same Eiffel Tower architect, Gustave Eiffel. New data has now emerged during the research for the preparation of the exhibition. an original piece of iron was found, with an inscription that sends it to a factory in Scotland, United Kingdom. A discovery that, according to Arleth Leandro, brings more data to the investigations that have been made.

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