By 1900 Buenos Aires was one of the twelve world capitals with finest architecture. In terms of growth, Buenos Aires was the third behind Hamburg and Chicago.
Throughout these years the ever-growing sophisticated architecture aimed to symbolize the country’s prestige and greatness. Some of the finest private palaces and public buildings such as the National Mail Postal Office building was designed by the same French architect in charge of designing the New York Postal Office.
Architectural experts who have studied Buenos Aires buildings concur in describing the city’s architecture not as mere copies of the European designs, but as an authentic view of major world trends that were brought to the Buenos Aires scene transgressing the Old continent’s hard and austere lines. This is a very special and unique feature, for most European architects working in BA projects “felt freer to innovate, adapt, adorn and leave their personal signature”.
The American Utopia in terms of architecture arrived to the new continent through two main port-side cities: New York and Buenos Aires.
From 1880 to 1930, the city of Buenos Aires went through a major makeover –unparalleled elsewhere-. The buildings and sculptured monuments, including public interest areas such as parks and avenues, included in the World’s patrimony list are over 200.

 

The main European style prevailing throughout those years was to be complemented during the early 20s with innovative styles such as Art nouveau and Art Deco, as well as an aesthetic highly influenced by the archeological discoveries from way back then: Tutankhamen’s tomb discovery  and the later discovery of Inca, Mayan and Aztec archeological remains inspired much of the design work. Rectangles and pyramids, double and triple frames and Egyptian and Inca motifs are yet to be found and admired through several barrios that were growing back then, Flores, Caballito and Balvanera. While this cosmopolitan style developed some local architects had also created what they described as “an nationalist architecture” invoking a sort of national style linked to some Spaniard and colonial styles, and the new and modern Buenos Aires neoplaterismo.

The city’s functional architecture evolved with it’s economy. Early in the 1900, La Boca and Barracas were the city’s main working class neighborhoods, filled with joint houses known as conventillos. Very colorful constructions made out of inexpensive materials such as metal, wood. The 1940s  and the increase in number of the porteñan working class would bring to the architectonic scene mono-block serialized buildings specially around Saavedra, Chacabuco and Lugano.

The 1960s and 1970s were years of innovation in design and aesthetic linked to nature and prime materials revalued and exposed in all its basic and beautiful features. Organic and functionality is a duel that prevails in the constructions of those days.

From the 80s to current days, the eclectic feel of the city prevails, and ultra modern high buildings are this years main input. The late 90s and the new millenium, following a worldwide trend, express a return to some basic aesthetic, remodeling and recovering high quality constructions from demolition, in vintage modern buildings.

 

Interesting facts about Buenos Aires architecture: Casa Chorizo and Conventillos.

The Casa chorizo has it’s origin in Italy’s Roman Empire middle class construction, one story buildings with several inside patios connecting the many rooms. The Argentinean version is not so opulent, it has less rooms and patios, just the main living room, kitchen, bathroom and a couple of bedrooms all face the sole and main patio, that’s accessed through a narrow hall connecting it with the street. Further rooms are added when resources are higher than the media.

The Conventillos were the main lodging available to the immense immigrant flow from the early years of the Republic. These are comunitary houses, were a hole family lived in a room, shared a bathroom and a cooking area. Most of these conventillos were abandoned in 1871 because of a yellow fiber epidemic. Later on the buildings were occupied again, in better conditions, but they were still shared houses.

There's a Conventillo (What's mean little convent, who knows why, while the people there were crouded and so far from the peace and order that's supposed to get in a convent) in Defensa almost corner with San Juan Av.

Repurposed Architecture

Believe it or not, on Florida Street, there is in the middle of the bustling business district a Burger King Restaurant that is 3 stories tall which is more than likely unlike ANY Burger King you have ever entered in your life. Many years ago this building was some sort of palacial home for a very rich nobleman in Argentina.  The first floor is like any Burger King in the USA or elsewhere in Buenos Aires, but then you will notice some rather fancy staircases on the sides as you make your way toward the counter to order food.

Allow your curiosity to take you up those staircases, but be sure you have your camera with you, for what you will encounter is unlike any thing you will ever see in any Burger King elsewhere in the World. Columns, which look like they belong in Greece, lead to carvings and a third floor with more intricate carvings. Then turn your head to the ceiling and enjoy the stained glass windows, which act as skylights. There are very few patrons enjoying their Whoppers up here, as there are no elevators to bring you to the second and third floors - this place was not designed for the handicapped or disabled. Argentina apparently doesn't have any serious laws to assist anyone with disabilities.

Just sit down and enjoy the artwork in this very unique and unusual Burger King. Oh yes, take all the photos you wish,for nobody will bother you as you freely roam from room to room on the spacious third floor. Unless you look down you are apt to forget that you are really in a real, live "hamburger joint". The locals don't seem to notice or even care about the unusual charachteristics of this highly ornate edifice - a very unique place and there is NO admission charge!