housing for the masses

housing for the masses: master list

Buenos Aires, housing for the masses, vivienda social, master list

I can’t lie… I’m proud of this series of posts written in 2007 & 2008. While only the years from 1910 to 1950 are covered, researching & photographing housing projects in Buenos Aires became a passion. La Teja compiled more information in 2010, & I’m thrilled that they included projects up to the present. But I’m content with being first and making this info available in English 😉

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housing for the masses: barrio 17 de octubre, 1950

Barrio 17 de Octubre • Villa Pueyrredón
(Avenida de los Constituyentes & Avenida General Paz)

Like several other Perón era housing projects, a name change occurred after military leaders ousted the President. 17 October 1945 marked the birth of Perón’s political presence when workers marched on Plaza de Mayo, demanded he be released from jail & requested his nomination as President. Later consecrated as the Día de la Lealtad & made a national holiday, such a polemic moment in history could not survive the anti-Perón years which followed the coup. A less controversial name for this neighborhood —Barrio General José de San Martín— today commemorates a less controversial historical figure. Locals also know it as the Barrio Grafa, named for a former adjacent textile factory (Grandes Fábricas Argentinas), today occupied by Walmart.

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housing for the masses: barrio juan perón, 1949

Barrio Juan Perón • Saavedra
Andonaegui & Larralde

Wow. That took forever to draw… I guess it’s a good thing since this 1949 project represents the first successful attempt to think outside the standard, Buenos Aires grid plan. No government-sponsored housing project had ever been attempted on such a large scale. The layout is not symmetrical, but it comes close. City limits obviously cramped the design since Avenida General Paz slices through the “U,” so planners extended the left (actually southwest) side slightly to compensate.

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housing for the masses: barrio 1º de marzo, 1948

Barrio 1º de Marzo, Buenos Aires, vivienda social, housing project Saavedra, 1948

Barrio 1º de Marzo • Saavedra
Galván & Larralde

In the same year that the concrete blocks of Barrio Balbastro housed families in Bajo Flores, a completely new idea popped up in Saavedra: the chalet californiano, single story houses set back from the street with terracotta roofs & wooden shutters. Based on Jesuit missions in California, a certain sector of the upper class loved this imported & definitely foreign style. The Perón government brought it to the people.

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housing for the masses: barrio balbastro, 1948

Buenos Aires, Flores, Barrio Balbastro, 1948

Barrio Balbastro, 1948 • (Bajo) Flores
Balbastro & Rivera Indarte

Welcome to the Perón era. With only four projects built in the previous 20 years, no doubt a housing crisis for lower income workers affected Buenos Aires… and provided good enough reason to eliminate the CNCB. Perón’s support came from the working class, so it’s not surprising that he began to cater to their needs.

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housing for the masses: casa colectiva martín rodríguez, 1943

Casa Colectiva Martín Rodríguez, 1943 • La Boca
Avenida Pedro de Mendoza & Martín Rodríguez

It was the end of an era. The ineffectiveness of the Comisión Nacional de Casas Baratas (CNCB) was evident by the end of the 1930’s. Proof can be seen in the huge number of alternative organizations to take up the slack suggested by city officials & the national Congress. Also, the number of constructed units was only small percentage of original projections.

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housing for the masses: barrio alvear 2, 1939

Barrio Alvear II, 1939 • Parque Avellaneda
Juan Vucetich & José Bonifacio

Remember the confusion of Barrio Alvear 1? Only four city blocks of chalets were built by the Comisión Nacional de Casas Baratas, marked with the number 1 on the map below. Funds could not keep up with increased costs but 16 years later, the project continued.

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housing for the masses: casa colectiva patricios, 1939

Casa Colectiva Patricios, 77 units • Parque Patricios
24 de Noviembre & Rondeau

The 1930s weren’t good for housing projects in Buenos Aires. No doubt due to worldwide recession, workers had neither the government nor private organizations to look after them. Remember Barrio Rawson was finished in 1934 & the Casa Colectiva América in 1937… only two projects since 1928 is hardly a good track record or very helpful to those in need. By 1939, the program got back on track & two more projects were completed.

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housing for the masses: casa colectiva bernardino rivadavia, 1921

Casa Colectiva Bernardino Rivadavia, 1921 • San Telmo
Defensa 767

Right in the heart of the Sunday street fair in San Telmo is this rather unassuming building. Remember that the CNCB’s first project was an apartment building in Parque Patricios. Then they opted for individual, chalet-style housing. With this project they went back again to the apartment building model. Talk about indecisive:

Buenos Aires, San Telmo, Casa Colectiva Bernardino Rivadavia, 1921-22
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housing for the masses: casa colectiva américa, 1937

Casa Colectiva América, 1937 • San Telmo
Avenida San Juan & Balcarce

I put this series on the back burner a few months ago while doing the dome map & getting the cemetery blog up. Now I feel sufficiently guilty to continue where I left off… the 1930’s. Worldwide economic depression in 1929 & Argentina’s first military coup in 1930 also make this a good moment to start again. Economic & political problems brought social welfare to a halt for most of the decade.

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