Buenos Aires – January 2020 – Saturday Wanderings

A Saturday in the city with some random sights.

As usual, we arrived at Retiro Train Station. Today however I noticed that on the side where the long distance trains leave from there is a series of murals.




















There are a number of these vintage platform kiosks scattered about the station.






Moving on we passed by one of the colorful buses, commonly known as Collectivos – private bus companies, In the background is the National Congress Building.






Our final barrio was Puerto Madero. Once docklands, then vacant for 40+ years, it is now the newest neighborhood in the city – with the tallest buildings.









The ship ARA Uruguay is a floating museum. It is thought to be the largest ship of it’s era still afloat – more than 140 years old having been built in 1874.























A first for me – a monument to taxi drivers.






The promenade goes along what was once the riverfront. It has been reclaimed and is now a nature preserve.





There are a number of food trucks along the way, but none served cerveza. Fear not – the mobile bar is ready for you!





The area is known as Costanera Sur.





With your back to the city it feels as though you are in the middle of the tropics.







Colonia, Uruguay – January 2020 – A Historic Town

The town of Colonia del Sacramento was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese in what was then a southern territory of Brazil. Over the next 140 years it changed hands numerous times between the Portuguese and the Spanish, always remaining an important port.










The historic district is designated by UNESCO as a World Site. Many of the cobblestone streets date from the 17th an 18th century.

The buildings, while not as old, are still very historic.




















The Basilica dates from the early 1800s.





Nearby are the foundations of the buildings from the 1600s.





After visiting the church we continued our tour of the old town.













The lighthouse is situated next to a 17th century convent remains.











































Portions of the original city wall remain, having been restored.





We ended our walk around town crossing through the gate that lead originally to a drawbridge.






Buenos Aires – December 2019 – Barracas Barrio

While we had a fail on Saturday with a tour of San Telmo, our day Sunday turned out much better with a tour along with Silvia from Buenos Aires Eclectic of the Barracas Barrio.




We started out at La Casa De Los Leones, the House of the Lions. Home to Eustoquio Diaz Velez, who was a rich land owner in the 1800s. Legend has it that Diaz Velez kept lions on the property, and one night one escaped and killed a boyfriend of one of his daughters.




Across the street is the historic house Ingles Montes.




Many of the buildings along the street have great detail.







Dating from the late 1800s the Santa Lucia Church graces the street amongst the 15 floor apartment buildings.




The area has gone through some gentrification, with these 30 floor apartment buildings standing along side 1800s buildings.




A Buenos Aires staple, the Aguila Chocolate factory was a major neighborhood employer. The company still exists, but the iconic factory is now a grocery store.




As with most Buenos Aires neighborhoods, there is some interesting graffiti.




Lanin Street is so cool I have dedicated an entire posting to it – following this posting.




Plaza Colombia has this great sculpture and flagpole.




While nearby is the spectacular Santa Felicitas Church. Built in German Gothic style it is one of, if not the only, example of this style in the world.




The courtyards are elegant.







The basement has what is known as the Tunnel Museum, with the history of the church and the neighborhood.




They had a collection of nun wardrobes!







Much of the museum was dedicated to the immigrant community.







A local cooking legend, Dona Petrona, was also featured.




The upper level had a nave, but is no longer used as a church – it now serves as a community center.




Many thanks to Silvia for an informative and entertaining tour.






Montevideo, Uruguay – November 2019 – A Variety of Architectural Styles

Montevideo, Uruguay is a city of approximately 1.3 million people, making up 1/3 of the entire population of the country. As the capital and economic center of Uruguay the city has a eclectic collection of architecture.

Since we arrived by the ‘fast ferry’ from Buenos Aires, the first building that greeted us was the Port Terminal Building.




The Municipal Theater and Museum of Art History is an impressive structure in the Cordon neighborhood.




Along the Avenida 18 July there are a number of impressive buildings leading you to Plaza Indepencia.







The most impressive is Palacio Salvo (also the feature photo). It was designed by Mario Palanti, who designed the Palacio Barolo in Buenos Aires. As a result their looks are very similar.







The Ciudadela Building is on the opposite end of Plaza Independencia from the Palacio Salvo. Designed by Raul Sichero and Ernesto Calvo and completed in 1958, it stands 90 meters high.




The Pablo Ferrando Building dates from 1917, serving as a library and coffee shop




The new Presidential Building is also along the Plaza Independencia.




The remains of Miguelete Prison. But fear not – it’s wings now host a contemporary art museum as well as a museum of natural history.




Scenes in Ciudad Vieja (the old city).







A few miles out of the old town you come to the World Trade Center of Montevideo.







This unique building is the Damaso Antonio Larranaga Zoological Museum.




As you reach Punta Gorda the mid rise apartments give way to single and duplex family homes.




We end our tour with the 1876 Punta Brava Lighthouse. It continues to serves it’s original use to this day.






Buenos Aires – November 2019 – Open House goes South

Out of sheer good luck we happen to be in Buenos Aires for their Open House. Their motto is 1 City, 2 Days, 140 Buildings and 760 Volunteers.




Without much notice I missed the sign up period for many of the more popular buildings, but we were still able to see some interesting examples of BsAs architecture.

Our first stop was the Casal de Catalunya. Built in the Barcelona style, the building dates from 1886. It has been home of the Catalan community in Buenos Aires for 130+ years.













Another building from the 1880s is Casa Bolivar. It is designed in a ‘Casa Chorizo (Sausage) style, so named as there are numerous small wings connected through a common hallway, much like links of sausage hanging in the butcher shop.

Casa Bolivar is in San Telmo, which was the main immigrant neighborhood for 100 years. These type of houses served as the first home for hundreds of thousands of immigrants – now it has been refurbished into an art studio and AirBnB.












The Instituto Superior Octobre is located amongst a number of 100 year old buildings, and from the outside fits in perfectly.

Inside is a completely different look – With the openness of the center court, and the steel and glass throughout, it is thoroughly modern.










The Teatro (Theater) Gran Rex is located along the main theater street in the city – Corrientes. It is modeled after Radio City Music Hall. I am unable to identify the statue in the lobby but for now we will call him the Argentina Dean Martin.




As noted previously it was designed to be similar to Radio City Music Hall with the shell roof, and lack of ornate decorations.

With over 3000 seats, it is one of the larger venues in town. On this day the roadies were setting up for a concert.










Our final stop was the Palacio Municipal, or City Hall. It is connected to the Edificio Del Diario La Prensa (a newspaper). Together they make up the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture).

They are very impressive, ornate buildings.






























Chicago – October 2019 – Open House V3.0

Late October means it is time for Open House Chicago – our 3rd straight year! As always there were hundreds of volunteers making sure your visit to over 250 buildings went well.



This year ended up having an emphasis on theaters and churches. We started with the Goodman Theater.







Just around the corner is the Nederlander Theater. Built in 1926 and operated for nearly 100 years as the Oriental Theater, it was recently renamed for James Nederlander, the founder of Broadway in Chicago.



It is the most ornate theater I have ever seen.






Our morning of theaters ended with the Lyric Opera Theater.





Chicago was for many years the mail order center of the world, and as such had a massive main post office, located next to Union Station. Today it is being redeveloped into condos.







The Monroe Building is located along South Michigan Avenue. Built in 1912 it has one of the largest collections of Rookwood Pottery tiles in the world.





The Seventeenth Church of Christ is a modern style church located amongst the skyscrapers of Wacker Drive. Completed in 1968, it has a unique look for a church.



For something totally different we made a visit to the Prairie Concrete Company. It is the largest volume concrete dealer in the country, with the capability of creating enough concrete for a 2 car garage every 90 seconds!

This is their only pink cement truck.









The hundred year old Motley School was closed and refurbished into apartments.





Our final stops were churches in Ukranian Village.