When I started writing a free PDF guide of the most attractive domes in Buenos Aires —sometime back in 2007— daily walks throughout the city made one thing obvious: corners (esquinas) offer the very best views. Buenos Aires had been founded on a tight grid plan used by the Spanish in all their territories, so street intersections gave light to cramped quarters. Future city planners widened avenues & crowned new corners with impressive domes as well as added the ochava… recessing ground level corners like the shape of a stop sign. No better place to show off brilliant architecture & give pedestrians some much-needed space.
The elite & social-climbing nouveau riche chose corners for their residences. Taking advantage of light & air plus an opportunity to show off old or new wealth proved irresistible:
Businesses of all kinds also wanted prime, corner real estate to attract customers. It works:
Development has not reached all areas equally. With so much merchandise passing through La Boca (as well as very real threats of periodic flooding), many streets are wider than downtown & have great corner views… just walk away from the overly touristy Caminito:
Skewed 20th-century economics gave rise to multiple shantytowns throughout the city, although they tend to be concentrated on the fringe. Spontaneous growth still challenges Buenos Aires today:
The 20th century also brought some questionable real estate projects along with the eternal debate “Is new necessarily better?” Not really in many cases 😉
These corner images almost became a photo book in 2012… & still may someday. As I reminisce about those years & revisit old photographs, I’ll continue to add content to this post periodically. A conversation I had with friends on Facebook sums up my feelings about why I love showing off Buenos Aires:
Robert: …Pero sabés qué? Me gusta mostrar BA así pq hay mucho lindo, mucho mamarracho y hay que ver el conjunto entero. Supongo que por eso me enamoré de BsAs.
Juan: Es como salir con la mascara del eternauta Buenos Aires, glamour y crap all together después de una crisis nuclear.
Robert: …Es así, la ciudad que nos quedó. Es para hacer un estudio psicológico!