In July 1910, Francisco Giner de los Ríos, founder of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, asked Alberto Jiménez Fraud, one of his most advanced disciples, to leave his birthplace Málaga and to join him in Madrid with the purpose of becoming the director of the Residencia de Estudiantes. In previous years Jiménez Fraud had travelled in two occasions to Great Britain to study the education methods at British schools. During the first term at the Residencia (1910-1911) there were only 15 pupils staying in a small, comfortable but not exclusive hotel, placed in calle Fotuny.
Amongst these first resident students were Jorge Guillén, the psychiatrist Miguel Prados, elder brother of the poet Emilio Prados, Manuel Prieto, that would later become ministrer in the second republic, and the cardiologist Luis Calandre. During the years that followed, the facilities grew up to four hotels until in 1915 the Residencia moved to the pavilions of the "Hipodrome heights", close to the Museum of Natural Science and the Paseo de la Castellana.