The Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento has, since the year 2000, been located in the old Hospital de San Roque, an important Renaissance building, which was erected on the edge of the historic centre of Santiago de Compostela.
The building dates back to 1517, when the Santiago de Compostela town council and regiment decided to build a chapel dedicated to Saint Roch, as an expression of gratitude after the city had been freed from a long epidemic of the plague. However, this was not begun until 1570, when the work was complemented with the addition of the Hospital. It was founded by Archbishop Francisco Blanco Salcedo (1574-1581) and the work was directed by the master builder Gaspar de Arce, who was one of the last exponents of renaissance architecture in Galicia.
The building is square in shape, with a central courtyard in the form of a cloister with sixteen columns, around which the different parts of the building unfold. All of the sections of the building underwent various improvements and additions in the second half of the 18th century.
The doorway, which retains its original layout, is composed of a semi-circular arch between Tuscan pilasters, bearing the coat of arms of the founding prelate on the tympanum. Above the cornice, between two large urns, there is a second section of smooth pilasters housing two vaulted niches with statues of Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian, the two physician brothers who are the patron saints of hospitals. This second section is crowned with a straight pediment and its tympanum is adorned with a cross and a scallop.
After it was acquired by the Xunta de Galicia, the building was fully restored towards the end of the last century and adapted to its purpose, in order to provide it with the spaces required for its book collections and for pursuing scientific and cultural activities. The new facilities were officially opened on 14 February 2001./p>
Alcalá Navarro, Alfredo (project drafting)
Restauración do Hospital de San Roque, Santiago de Compostela, Xunta de Galicia, 2001.
Bonet Correa, Antonio
La arquitectura en Galicia durante el siglo XVII, Santiago de Compostela, Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento; Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1984.
Martínez, Pablo F.
"Hospitales de San Lorenzo y San Roque", Galicia: revista gráfica mensual, año 4, 19 (1935), pp. 88-89.
Vázquez Pardo, Emilio
"El Hospital de San Roque", Boletín de la Comisión Provincial de Monumentos Históricos y Artísticos de Orense, t. 8, núm. 179 (1928), pp. 186-189.