Although the architecture department at the Universidad de Buenos Aires officially opened in 1901, local students had already developed a habit of going abroad to study. Returning graduates brought with them the latest trends from Europe. At the same time, many experienced European architects arrived in Buenos Aires. There was more than enough work to share between locals & immigrants; landowners wanted to increase the value of their property & the city was growing exponentially. No doubt it would have been a very exciting time to be in Buenos Aires.
The era of Art Deco —roughly the 1920’s & 1930’s— also corresponds to a period of increased personal wealth in Argentina. Major projects injected Buenos Aires with large-scale Art Deco such as insurance companies along the newly-created Diagonal Norte, banks in La City, the medical school, garages & several office buildings. But Art Deco also became a popular style for housing construction. Often overlooked or taking a back seat to their bigger brothers, Art Deco residential areas dot several parts of the city & make for an interesting scavenger hunt… a great way to explore less-visited corners of Buenos Aires.
What to look for: striations, geometric shapes within geometric shapes… especially inset panels, geometric flower designs, detailed ironwork on both windows & doors, decorative borders, crenellations… decorative elements jutting up from the top floor, & the occasional pergola. Everything that normally characterizes Art Deco but on a much smaller scale.
Where to look: When I guided tours of Caballito, one favorite area to show was the mini-barrio on the southern side of Avenida Pedro Goyena (intersection of La Nave & Nicolás E. Videla):
Also in Caballito, a wonderful row of houses lines Neuquén from the 1200 block to about 1500, near Plaza Irlanda. The best of them all is the former house of Art Deco artist Troiano Troiani with a hunter on the door & a stunning sculpture at the entrance (Neuquén 1475):
Boedo has its share of Art Deco, with a large cluster of houses on Cochabamba between 3900 & 4200:
Flores has some very upscale Art Deco just behind the main square, Plaza Pueyrredón, at Bacacay 2500 & 2600. Check out the cross street Artigas at the 200-300 block as well:
Remember to explore around the listed streets above… don’t stick to only the few blocks mentioned. There’s Art Deco to be discovered in every neighborhood!
Great post. One of the greatest days one can spend in Buenos Aires is just walking around the city with a camera around your neck. Thanks for sharing these with us….can’t wait to return!
Thanks, Steve! As you can see, I’m still trying to get people to visit more of BA… there’s a lot here to see. Saludos!
A small collection of buenos aires curios: the ochava with door.
with some art deco:
Thanks for the link, Alettriste. Very interesting blog, especially for all the pics of Nueva Pompeya. Well done!
There are so many great Art Deco apartment buildings in BA, as you know. That should be a post on its own… I love the building on Gaona:
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I stopped in after a long absence, and glad I did. Terri and I just got back from Belgium where we saw some incredibly good Art Nouveau but froze our tutus off. We’re likely going back to BA in mid-August, but that’s probably when you’ll be someplace else, if past history is any guide.
We’re also hoping to make it to Portugal soon, maybe you’ll be there, eh?
Belgium is great! Most people don’t think much of Brussels, but I happen to like it. But you guys always pick strange times of the year to take vacation 🙂 I should be around in August, at least that’s the idea. If I’m not in BA, I’ll be in Esquel with Darío… not sure how we’ll work out the long distance thing from March to November. Hopefully I’ll get to see you & Terri this time around! Un abrazo!
I found the whole blog very interesting and the photos are great. Even better is the fact that there are some addresses and places to check out! I am going to the World Art Deco Congress in Rio De Janeiro in August and have a few days in Buenos Aires on the way. I’d love to know about any other Art Deco buildings I should see when I’m Buenos Aires.
Thanks, Jeremy! I wonder when the World Art Deco Congress will make it down here. Buenos Aires has literally 100s of AD buildings. The ones I posted are away from the normal spots that tourist visit… just trying to get people to see more of the city. There are further examples in my Flickr account, but the best source of info is a city government publication: Guía Patrimonio Cultural de BsAs. #8 is dedicated to Art Deco. You don’t have to read much Spanish because it’s mainly addresses & photos & is the most complete source I’ve seen. You can buy it at the bookstore in the Casa de la Cultura in the former La Prensa building (Avenida de Mayo 575). Saludos!