Buenos Aires Travel Planet

Buenos Aires visitor’s guide

Harrods Building

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The existence of a Harrods in Buenos Aires reflects the wealth of Argentina’s Golden Age and the indelible cultural links between Argentina and the UK. The Buenos Aires branch of Harrods was opened in 1914. At the time, the only other branches of Harrods were located in Paris, Berlin and Manchester, so Buenos Aires became part of the extremely exclusive Harrods club. The building is part of a wave of architectural gems that were born during this period of prosperity and progress, blessing the Buenos Aires skyline with an eclectic and luxurious feel that is still evident today. The architects Paul Bell Chambers and Louis Newbery Thomas were the chosen ones contracted to design this famous building.

Today the building of Harrods in Buenos Aires lies empty and has been since 1998, when it closed due to economic problems aggravated by the country’s inflation and instability. Presiding over a prime spot in the main commercial and tourist centre of Buenos Aires, the impressive building is unfortunately in a state of neglect with its seven floors of shops and hallways lying abandoned.


However, this is about to change as the Harrods building was purchased in March 2009 by two Swiss property firms. The mystery company plans to reopen, fully restore, refurbish and modernize the building. Luckily, the building has been protected by Argentine national heritage law that prevents the exterior from being altered, so the new building will retain its beauty of the Argentinean Golden Age. The new owners will also retain the oak flooring, brass fittings, famous metallic lifts and cut glass detailing. The Harrods Tearoom will also be put back into action in the same style as before. And despite bitter battles in British court over rights to the Harrods name, the Buenos Aires building has won the right to maintain the original name, much to the relief of the current owners.

The reopening of historic buildings of Harrods in Buenos Aires  is a phenomenon that has transformed the city in recent years. Many firms have realized the business sense in refurbishing classic Porteño buildings, for example, shopping centers such as Galeria Guemes, Galerias Pacifico and Abasto have all been huge successes since their resurrections from disrepair into the 21st Century.

Buenos Aires is a city that is overshadowed by the glory of its Golden Days. The opulence of the past is reflected in the architecture and the Harrods department store is a symbol of good taste, wealth and prosperity so it is surely a positive sign that it is soon to reopen. Take a look at Buenos Aires travel guide for more information on the history behind the city.

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