Venezuelan engineer Francisco Manrique Pacanis built the old Municipal prison of Guayaquil between 1903 and 1905. It was inaugurated in 1907 and operated as a jailhouse until 1950. The building was declared as Heritage by the National Institute of Cultural heritage (INPC for its acronym in Spanish) or its architectural value, since it was the first building of the country built in concrete. The cement used in the construction was brought from Italy.
History narrates that before the current building, another jail was built in 1886 by Italian Rocco Queirolo Pinasco, which was destroyed by the fire of 1896.
Since its construction, the building has been restored several times, without affecting its original structure. The area was called “la calle del dolor” (the street of pain) since it housed the prison, the general cemetery, the madhouse and a hospital for people with leper.
Currently the building is property of the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS for its acronym in Spanish). Until 2009 it was released on loan to the Catholic University, for educational and cultural purposes and then as payment to the Guayaquil Siglo XXI Foundation, which painted and renovated the façade.
The Municipal prison is a kind of cloister structure that comprises an interior patio, and a perimeter gallery surrounded by more than 40 cells and dungeons. The building has a renaissance style; the flat façade is divided in two bodies by a cornice that has a series of pilasters that create a compound rhythm scheme, in which stand out the horizontal succession of arched windows arranged symmetrically. The upper floor ends in a flat cornicing. It has a central patio that was surrounded by the cells.