Located within San Cristóbal de La Laguna’s Historic Ensemble, the Palacio de Nava is on the northeast corner of Plaza del Adelantado, and has two façades: the main one that faces the square and calle de Nava, formerly called calle del Agua, and a side façade facing calle Deán Palahi, on the south.
The first building was erected on a plot that belonged to Jorge Grimón, conqueror of Tenerife since 1500. Building works started in 1585 and in the mid-17th century, it underwent some alterations. In 1776, Tomás Nava y Grimón y Porlier had it fully refurbished, covering the whole construction with stone which is how it stands today. The Casa or Palacio de Nava is an example of cultured architecture on the islands, although the façade does not follow the precepts of a specific style because it is the result of successive additions.
The Palacio de Nava has been a Cultural Heritage Asset, under the Monument category, since 6 September 2000.
The building has a rectangular structure with two interior courtyards and a vegetable garden in the rear. The layout of the garden and one of the courtyards has been altered by modern additions.
The two-storey main façade is fully covered in stonework and features bands of dressed stone on both corners. It is topped by a central piece that hides the traditional barrel tile roof. There are five openings on each floor symmetrically arranged with the doorway standing in the middle.
On the ground floor, the doorway, lintelled and bearing the coat of arms of the Grimón sculpted in stone above the frieze, is flanked by paired Corinthian columns that stand on a plinth decorated with rhomboid ornaments. Worth noting on the first floor are the balconies, which feature railings that stand on S-shaped corbels; the windows feature Tuscan pilasters and a triangular pediment (the French windows were reformed to adapt them to Neoclassic taste). The central opening is symmetrical, like the one on the ground floor. It also features Corinthian paired columns on plinths; it is topped by a semi-circular pediment connected to the cornice. Two stone zoomorph gargoyles jut out of the cornice. The top of the frontispiece is completely Baroque and is reminiscent of the top of altarpieces. The centre features the coat of arms of the Marquis of Villanueva del Prado; on both sides stand paired Solomonic columns and a cornice in the upper section which is slightly pushed back and bears pagoda-shaped tops and scrolls on the apex.
On the sides there are two volutes equally decorated with scrolls that connect the cornice with the parapet. The walls of the side façade are plain and have three rows of tiled eaves.
The main feature inside the buildings is the courtyard, reached through the doorway and an iron railing. The upper gallery is closed, and its windows look onto the courtyard. The corridor on the ground floor is open and made of losa chasnera [stone slabs], with noteworthy columns supporting the gallery above. Sculpted in basalt, the stone plinths are ornamented on the four sides; fluted shafts in the lower part and spiral grooves from the collar on in the following two thirds, plus Corinthian capitals resting on wooden supports.
In the rear crossing of the courtyard, two semi-circular arches give way to the second courtyard and the upper floor. A baluster marble staircase with three landings leads to the upper floor. Because of the size and weight of the structure, the upper landing is propped up by a Tuscan column. The staircase is covered by an octagonal coffered ceiling with the family coat of arms in the flat centre piece, profusely carved on the gables and polychrome. It combines Mudejar carving skills with Portuguese influence (chromatism). Some authors regard it as the best example of Portuguese ceilings in Canary Islands.