Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Architour


Today I went strolling again, although this time I had specific destinations in mind. I had a list of buildings I wanted to check out, a subset of the full list – but a start nonetheless. Today I set out to visit the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library), the Banco Hipotecario Nacional, Retiro Station (with my camera this time) and whatever else I found along the way.

Seriously though, I have a list the length of my arm of buildings I’d like to inspect but this seemed like a manageable set for one afternoon.

I left the apartment and wandered down Aguero, discovering that once you cross Avenida Santa Fe there are tons of rather lovely looking coffee shops. I have been struggling to find one that I feel comfortable in near the apartment. I’ve been in some amazingly friendly ones but have found that most of the very local places tend to be restaurants. Anyway, I digress... down towards the bottom of Aguero is the Biblioteca Nacional.

Now, I’ve been reading and although his building was designed in the 60s its construction dragged on and on and was only opened to the public in 1992. It stands on the site of the old presidential home, where Eva and Juan lived, and where she died in 1952. The building was torn down by the military in an attempt to erase any memory of Peronism. Below the library, just after (rather curiously) a statue of the last Pope (not the new one, the old dead one) is a statue of Evita. Heavily stylised and romanticised. It was only erected in 1999.


After that, a quick whirl around the giant metal flower. I have to confess I don’t know what it’s called, if anyone can help let me know. Honestly, for me, it’s a bit of a gimmick. It’s striking and dramatic, it opens and closes blah blah blah but it really just left me thinking so what. Each to their own I suppose. Although, in saying that I did find myself taking thousands of photographs so there must be something about it.


Then I kept on walking... down to Avenida del Liberatador (every town needs one) and along to Retiro Station. I’d popped in here the other day but didn’t have my camera so was quite keen to get some pics.


After the station a quick skirt around the edge of Plaza San Martin and a quick snap of the Kavanagh Building. Now this is an interesting building and although I hadn’t intended photographing it today I couldn’t help it. I’ve planned to revisit some time at a later date. In the meantime I was interested to read the history of the building. Built by an eccentric Irish lady who had inherited some land it was intended to keep her in wealth derived from the rented apartments. It was erected in 1936 and is 120m high. It’s an amazing building to look at and one I’ll certainly need to visit again at a later date.


From there I strolled down Reconquista, I was heading to the Banco Hipotecario Nacional, a famous rationalist building erected in 1963. It’s a remarkable building as it’s slap bang in the middle of the city, surrounded by old neo-classical mammoths. Incredibly difficult to photograph but very impressive indeed.


After that, I put my camera away and walked ALL THE WAY home again. I was knackered by the time I got in. Chris had made dinner so it was another quiet night in.

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