Topic: Buildings & Bridges
By 1900 Buenos Aires was one of the twelve world capitals with finest architecture. In terms of growing, Buenos Aires was the third most growing city behind Hamburg and Chicago.
Throughout these years the ever-growing sophisticated architecture aimed to symbolize the country’s prestige and greatness. Back then some of the finest particular and public palaces. For instance, the National mail Postal Office building was designed by the same French architect in charge of designing the New York Postal Office.
Architectural experts who have studied Buenos Aires buildings agree to describe the city’s architecture not as mere copies of the European designs, but a special and authentic view of world major trends that were brought to the Buenos Aires scene transgressing the Old continent’s hard and austere lines. This is a very special and unique feature, for most European architects working in BA projects “felt freer to innovate, adapt, adorn and leave their personal signature”.
The American Utopia in terms of architecture arrived to the new continent through two main port-side cities: New York and Buenos Aires.
From 1880 to 1930, the city of Buenos Aires went through a major makeover –unparalleled elsewhere-. The buildings and sculptured monuments, including public interest areas such as parks and avenues, included in the World’s patrimony list are over 200.
The main European style prevailing throughout those years was to be complemented during the early 20s with innovative styles such as Art nouveau and Art Deco, as well as an aesthetic highly influenced by the archeological discoveries from way back then: Tutankhamen’s tomb discovery and the later discovery of Inca, Mayan and Aztec archeological remains inspired much of the design work. Rectangles and pyramids, double and triple frames and Egyptian and Inca motifs are yet to be found and admired through several barrios that were growing back then, Flores, Caballito and Balvanera. While this cosmopolitan style developed some local architects had also created what they described as “a nationalist architecture” invoking a sort of national style linked to some Spaniard and colonial styles, and the new and modern Buenos Aires neo-River Plate Architecture.
See Picture Image Gallery of some interesting views of the City of Buenos Aires, Argentian:
Architecture, Buenos Aires. Argentina
The city’s functional architecture evolved with it’s economy. Early in the 1900, La Boca and Barracas were the city’s main working class neighborhoods, filled with joint houses known as conventillos. Very colorful constructions made out of inexpensive materials such as metal, wood. The 1940s and the increase in number of the portenan ( as the Buenos Aires City dwellers are known ) working class would bring to the architectonic scene mono-block serialized buildings specially around Saavedra, Chacabuco and Lugano.
The 1960s and 1970s were years of innovation in design and aesthetic linked to nature and prime materials revalued and exposed in all its basic and beautiful features. Organic and functionality is a duel that prevails in the constructions of those days.
From the 80s to our days, the eclectic feel of the city prevails, and ultra modern high buildings are this years main input. The late 90s and the new millennium, following a worldwide trend, express a return to some basic aesthetic, remodeling and recovering high quality constructions from demolition, in vintage modern buildings.
Interesting facts about Buenos Aires architecture: Casa Chorizo and Conventillos.
The Casa chorizo has it’s origin in Italy’s Roman Empire middle class construction, one story buildings with several inside patios connecting the many rooms. The Argentinean version is not so opulent, it has less rooms and patios, just the main living room, kitchen, bathroom and a couple of bedrooms all face the sole and main patio, that’s accessed through a narrow hall connecting it with the street. Further rooms are added when resources are higher than the media.
The Conventillos were the main lodging available to the immense immigrant flow from the early years of the Republic. These are communitarian like homes, were whole families lived in a room, shared a bathroom and a cooking area. Most of these conventillos were abandoned in 1871 because of a yellow fever epidemic. Later on the buildings were occupied again, in better conditions, but they were still shared houses.
La Boca bridges, an unmistakable pair
La Boca is a neighborhood of fantasy and beauty. Not just regular and plain beauty but local and exotic. Its streets come up to life through means of the colorful collection of houses, up and down high streets to avoid flooding and the unmistakable folk around the Sunday football matches, when the local team Boca Juniors awakes all sorts of passions.
Originally organized as a port side town, La Boca is located at the shore of the Riachuelo, a small river descending from the marvelous River Plate. Italian and Spanish immigrants were the first to populate this neighborhood and to set its unique character. Even when, back in the early days of the twentieth century two of the most beloved and hated football clubs were being born –Boca Juniors and River Plate- the port gave them their identity, for the traditional gold and blue from their T shirt was inspired in a ship’s flag arriving to the port at the very same moment a group of football lover friends were “giving birth” to Boca.
Among the many interesting features of La Boca, its bridges are a fantastic attraction. Rarely happens –anywhere- to find two bridges one side by side the other, and even less that both of them carry the same name. But we had to be in La Boca for something like this to happen.
For this is the last neighborhood in Buenos Aires city, it’s the joining point to the Grater Buenos Aires, aka Provincia de Buenos Aires.
Back in 1908 El Sur Railway Company began to build a monumental iron bridge to join the city and the province. Through means of it people could cross walking from one end to the other of the Riachuelo –before everybody crossed by boat- and also for heavy vehicles flow. On May 30th 1914, in front of a exited crowd the city’s authorities inaugurated the Nicolas Avellaneda -in honor of the Republic’s president through 1874-1880 -Transfer car.
But in 1940 the city’s government built another bridge, for the transit flow was increasingly growing. The new bridge would take over the transport car’s functions; and for the authorities didn’t want the name of the Republic’s president to go down with it, they christened the new bridge Nicolas Avellaneda too.
Only at La Boca, this enchanting location, one finds twin bridges with less than 200 meters apart one from the other, both named after the same ex president…a fantastic honor, no doubt about it.
See Picture Image Gallery of Bridges in the City of Buenos Aires:
Architecture Bridges in Buenos Aires, Argentina
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