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.













Buenos Aires – August 2019 – Various Views of the City

Some random views of the city.

Sunrise over the port.



A walk through the historic financial district.





The view of a school out from my 6th floor office window.



Where out of nowhere the window washer dropped down from above on this sketchy looking seat.



The Argentina relief on the Torre Monument.



The plaza in front of the Torre Monument.



Views from the top of the aforementioned monument.







Subway Art.



The Hall of Lost Steps at the Law School of The University of Buenos Aires.





The Floralisa Generica – a giant metal flower that opens and closes throughout the day.



Views from the 31st floor.





Sunrise on my last day in town for this trip. The more time I spend here the more I want to come back.





Buenos Aires – August 2019 – Day Long Urban Trek

With the weekend by myself in Buenos Aires I was looking for something to do when I came across an 18km (11 mile) ‘Urban Trek’ across much of the city.

Note – with an all day hike this post is somewhat long…

The tour started out at the visitor information center in La Boca, a working class neighborhood along a seriously polluted river. It reminded me of Youngstown and Cleveland in the 1970s.



Our trek started out with 7 intrepid hikers and a guide. It would not finish that way.



The people of La Boca are proud of their neighborhood…



The center is a tourist area packed with colorful shops.









The area was setting up for a Sunday artist market.



We quickly left the area and passed by the colorful houses which legend says were painted various colors with the left over paint from ships.



La Boca is most known for their soccer team. The stadium is called La Bombonera, which translates to the Chocolate Box, from the shape of the stadium. The seating is in an incredibly steep pitch.

This 49,000 seat stadium is jammed in the middle of the neighborhood.



The walk through the rest of La Boca provided a number of interesting views.





Eventually we made our way to the San Telmo neighborhood, along with more diverse photo ops.















We passed under a freeway that once housed an interrogation center during the military dictatorship era in the 1970s. Sadly during the construction of the freeway they found remains of many who never made it out of the center. There are tributes to those lost during those times.



Port Madero is a new area of tall buildings built in the former port of Buenos Aires.







One young lady on our tour, who was from Mexico, took selfies at virtually every stop along the way. She was very entertaining in making sure she had the perfect look – and a great sport when I asked to photo her taking her photo.



Our final stop on the morning part of the hike was the Plaza de Mayo.







After a break for lunch we headed out for the afternoon with a new guide, and only 4 hikers.

Having spent a few weeks in this part of town I was familiar with much of what we were passing, but it was still entertaining as our new guide was a very funny young lady.







A review of San Martin Plaza and Palacio.









Pelligrini Plaza.



The Addams Family Palacio (not really but it seems as though it should be)



An finally a stop at Recoleta Cemetery. Our hike continued for another couple of miles but didn’t produce any interesting photo, or the photographer was too tired to take them 🙂

While long, it was a very worthwhile day. Both guides were knowledgeable and entertaining, and I was able to see many areas of the city that most don’t. If you have an entire Sunday to spend in Buenos Aires I highly recommend putting on your best walking shoes and heading out…