buenos aires

buenos aires: churches

Buenos Aires, Argentina, churches, iglesias, dome, cúpula

Being Easter Sunday, what better time to write about churches in Buenos Aires? Easter is probably my least favorite holiday of the year as it brings back memories of being dragged unwillingly to church… be it Lutheran, Methodist or Presbyterian. It never mattered much since we didn’t attend service any other day of the year. Seriously. However, after 12 years of extended stays in Spain & Portugal —plus living in Argentina for over 10 years— I may as well be Catholic by default.

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argentina: no soy muy tanguero

Tita Merello

I’m not an enormous fan of tango, but there are quite a few songs that I’ve grown to love. And before you ask, no… I’ve never taken a dance lesson. Far from being clumsy on my feet —I grew up in Memphis, after all— it’s one of those cultural experiences I keep saying I’ll do one day.

That day has yet to arrive, but I thought of something yesterday when Jeff & I were discussing the difficulties of translation. He’s done a very nice month-long series of posts about Borges since June 2006 was the 20th anniversary of his death. We had trouble agreeing on how to translate one simple line of poetry, so I decided to take the ultimate challenge… translating a tango song. I think I’m asking for trouble.

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buenos aires: estanislao pirovano, last word

First of all, one building that didn’t fit any of the other categories:

Güemes 3950 (Palermo) I hadn’t been disappointed in my Estanislao Pirovano quest. But after seeing this former apartment building, I wonder what Pirovano was thinking when he designed this. There’s nothing wrong with it… just very blah compared to all his other buildings. Maybe he was merely fulfilling a client’s request. No Tudor, no Neocolonial, no dragons, nada. The most decorative part of the façade is the pediment with lots of frilly bits & curves to look at through the trees.

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buenos aires: estanislao pirovano, unbuilt

Buenos Aires, Estanislao Pirovano, Aquarium Monumental, 1935

[Originally written on 21 Apr 2014, this post has been backdated in order to merge with others in this series.]

In the course of researching the life & work of Estanislao Pirovano, one source mentioned the architect’s plans for an immense National Aquarium. Obtained from a December 1943 issue of the magazine “Pique“, small, fuzzy reproductions hint at what would have been a masterpiece: 120 meters long & 70 meters wide. Location: the Costanera exactly where the old swimming point was located. They mention the project received approval in 1935, but its 130 tanks were never built.

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buenos aires: estanislao pirovano, neoprehispanic

Buenos Aires, San Nicolás, Estanislao Pirovano, La Nación/Falabella, Neoprehispanic

As part of an architectural & cultural movement from 1860 to 1900, nations once controlled by Spain began examining & re-evaluating their past. Dubbed Neoprehispánica, Neocolonial forms merged with indigenous influence in an attempt to create a unique, local style… very popular in México. Some authors refer to this style as Arequipeño based on architecture originating in Arequipa, Perú. Call it what you like, it’s gorgeous.

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buenos aires: estanislao pirovano, neocolonial

Buenos Aires, Flores, Estanislao Pirovano, Neocolonial

Coexisting with Art Deco & English Revival styles in the 1920’s was an idealized notion of Spanish architecture during colonial times. Certainly influenced by the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, this style of architecture never existed in Buenos Aires prior to the 20th century. Ochre & white colors echo those of Sevilla, & delicate designs in columns & panels are inspired by a late Gothic-early Renaissance Spanish style known as plateresco. Derived from the Spanish word for silver (plata), the decoration mimics silver filigree work. Add to all of this a new interest in Spanish Mission architecture from California & you have the beginning of Latin American movement in architecture. Estanislao Pirovano joined the club.

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