Buenos Aires Travel Planet

Buenos Aires visitor’s guide

Estrugamou building

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The Paris of Latin America

French Classical; Belle Époque; Renaissance; Baroque; Neo-classical; Art Deco; Modernist are all periods of architectural glory that are represented in the capital of Buenos Aires. Considering that Argentina was a Spanish colony for a couple of centuries, it may seem a little incongruent that there is so much architecture that is influenced by other countries.

There are many examples of the Spanish, colonial style, however the most prominent influence is that of France. Argentina’s independence from Spain occurred in 1816 and the government of the new republic had to set about constructing a nation. The Argentine government was obviously keen to move away from its colonial roots and shape a country that was completely different than the one that had been created by its oppressive predecessors. Architecture and urban planning was also a way for Argentina to show off to the rest of the world that is was no longer a colony, but a great and prosperous nation. And so the government commissioned French designers to build some of the country’s most important buildings, deliberately employing the typically intricate, delicate and imposing French style to show the world and its colonisers just how far they had come.

If you want to see an example of this French, showboat style then head to the Estrumagou building, Juncal 783, in Retiro neighbourhood. The first wave of French architects came over to Argentina in the 1820s, just a few years after independence was declared. This edifice, however, was built much later on in comparison with some of the other French baroque-style structures, which just goes to show how enduring the French influence has been in Argentina and particularly, in Buenos Aires.

Finished in 1929, the Estrumagou building is a breath-taking, eight storey structure that is made up of white stone, delicate balconies and topped off with a French, or mansard, roof that is typical of French Second Empire architecture. The design of the Estrumagou building doesn’t just mimic French styles, but many of the elements and materials were imported from France to give it an authentic elegance. The floor is even made of Slovenian oak. When you see buildings like the Estrumagou, you realise that why Buenos Aires is called the Paris of Buenos Aires. Starring up at this building you really will feel like you’re on a street corner in the French capital.

Argentine architecture reveals a lots about the history of this Latin American nation, so what better way to explore the city and its history than to go visiting all the architectural highlights of the city? Check out Buenos Aires travel guide for more information on Buenos Aires architecture.

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