Buenos Aires – Architecture & Sculpture

Buenos Aires is a city characterized by the multiplicity of its artistic expressions, ranging from the great assortment of sculptures and monuments to streets and corners that surprise the visitor with their allegorical reliefs and murals.

The classical buildings in Buenos Aires are a mix of architectural styles (particularly French and Italian), as you would expect in a city of immigrants. Many of them were built during the boom years of 1880 to 1920, which means that many of them are built in the neoclassical style that was popular around the world at that time..

Of course the architecture in Buenos Aires isn’t all classical. There are art nouveau and art deco buildings too, dilapidated colonial houses in San Telmo, colorful shacks around La Boca’s Caminito and gleaming towers in Puerto Madero. They’re all part of the mix

Probably the most recognizable sculpture easily seen from the street is Fernando Botero’s Naked Torso located in Parque Thays (Libertador Avenue). Botero is a Colombian artist famed for his “over-proportioned” figures that grace various plazas and parks around the world.

At Libertador Avenue, among other wonderful things you will observe a metal beauty called Floralis Generica, standing proudly in a water basin at the United Nations Plaza in Palermo, Buenos Aires. The sculpture created by Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano is made of tons of stainless steel and aluminum. Blooming daily at 8am, its petals close at sunset. the flower is at its most impressive at night, when it’s bathed in bright red light. It’s as beautiful as a gigantic, metallic red flower can possibly be.
This flower represents all the flowers of the world. Very eye catching!

The Bridge of Woman in Puerto Madero was designed by famous Spaniard Architect, Santiago Calatrava and completed in 2001. It intended to be an abstract representation of a dancing couple where the white mast represents the man and the curved profile of the bridge is the woman, and also takes account of the fact that in Puerto Madero all the streets are named after important women. The bridge is made of steel, with twisted pearlitic steel wires for suspension. It is prepared to move up whenever a ship has to get through. The pivoting mechanism is one of the biggest in the world. It has 20 electric and computerized motors in the main axle.

Nereids Fountain built by sculptress Lola Mora
This is a work made by the sculptor Lola Mora in 1903. This artist was born in the province of Tucumán. The work intends to represent Venus birth, surrounded by Nereids and Tritons. The initial idea was to place it at Plaza de Mayo, but the naked figures generated so many problems that it was placed in Leandro N. Alem avenue. After fifteen years, it was moved to Costanera Sur. It was made of Carrara marble. This sculpture shows the influence of Boticelli and the Italian Renaissance on the intellectual and creative process of Lola Mora.

 

The fabulous Palacio de Aguas Corrientes (literally ‘the palace of running water’) was built in the late 1800s. It occupies an entire city block between the streets of Cordoba, Riobamba, Viamonte and Ayacucho. Its surroundings are shabby, but the building itself is a French renaissance palace covered in 300,000 glazed, multi-color terracotta tiles. It was built as a water pumping station, which is a little bizarre, because for something with such a functional purpose it’s utterly beautiful.

Barolo Palace
Palacio Barolo: built by Italians Luigi Barolo & Mario Palanti in honor to the father of their language, Dante Alighieri, it plays tribute to his epic poem ‘The Divine Comedy’. Its three sections represent the three books of the poem; Hell, Purgatory & Paradise. Its 100m height represents the 100 verses, and 22 floors for the number of stanzas in each verse, along with many other numerical & architectural tributes. When it was built in 1923 it was for a short while the tallest building in South America, and remained the tallest in Buenos Aires until 1935.

The House of Culture, former La Prensa Newspaper Building. Constructed in 1898 as the offices for La Prensa newspaper. The grand exterior has imposing cast-iron doors, curvy lamps, bronze ornamentation, carved granite, and a Mansard roof, like the Louvre in Paris. The inside is equally elegant. Up top is a 4 ton statue of Greek Goddess Pallas Athenea: her lit torch and printed page symbolize press freedom. Peron didn’t agree with the sentiment, shutting the paper down after coming to power in 1946. The building now houses the House of Culture.

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