Homage to Clorindo Testa at Centro Cultural Recoleta

(Photo by hhzorrilla)

Clorindo Testa was a renowned Italian-Argentina architect and artist who is known for his modernist architectural style. Some of the buildings he is known for include the Argentine National Library, the Bank of London and South America, the remodeling of the Centro Cultural Recoleta, the neighboring Buenos Aires Design Center and the Centro Cultural Konex.

Testa was born in Naples in 1923 but moved to Buenos Aires with his family when he was but a few months old. He studied architecture in Argentina, at the Buenos Aires University and was influenced by Le Corbusier’s modern style. From the 50’s onward, he also painted and drew, following an Informalist style and choosing objects such as bicycles, tools and bridges as his motifs. In April 2013 the architect and artist passed away at the age of 83.

The Centro Cultural Recoleta is showcasing an exhibit of Testa’s work as part of the architecture biennial that is taking place until the 13th of October. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings and building designs and is being held until the 20th of October. The cultural center is open from Tuesday to Friday from 2pm to 9pm and on weekends from midday to 9pm. Junín 1930, Recoleta.  4803 1040.

Buenos Aires Monuments: La Puerta Historiada

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In Argentina, teacher’s day is celebrated on the 11th of September, as it was the day in which one of the country’s founding fathers known for propelling the Argentine educational system, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, passed away.

La puerta historiada, which stands at Av. Entre Rios 1349 in Constitución, was created in 1933 in his honor, and in honor of all Argentine teachers by sculptor Arturo Dresco. It is the main door of a library dedicated to social sciences and education.

The doorway was sculpted in bronze and consists of eight panels that depict teachers carrying out their tasks in the country’s different landscapes. The most important men in history that contributed to Argentine education, Mariano Moreno, Bernardino RIvadavia, Manuel Belgrano and Domingo Sarmiento, are included in the center of the piece.

Unfortunately, it has been somewhat forgotten and unkept and the neighborhood it’s in is shady and run down, however it is an important local art piece and a significant emblem of Argentine education.

Buenos Aires Monuments: Monumento a Las Nereidas

(Photo by subcomandanta)

The Monumento a Las Nereidas (Nereids Fountain) is a gorgeous white marble sculpture by Lola Mora, one of the first and most prolific Argentine women artists. The monument is located in Puerto Madero at the Ecological Reserve and represents the Nereids giving birth to Venus.

The fountain, which was created in Rome and inaugurated in 1903 in Buenos Aires, was controversial due to the nude female figures and so, although it had been created for Plaza de Mayo, it ended up being placed at the Plaza Colón, where not a single woman showed up to the inauguration. It wasn’t only the sculpture conservative society was distraught about, Lola Mora herself was also considered scandalous, both for being an artist and for wearing pants on the sculpture’s site! In fact, many doubted her artistic capacity and questioned whether the sculpture was truly hers. The monument caused such a commotion that in 1918 it was moved once again this time to an even more distant location on Costanera Sur, where it remains today.

Buenos Aires Monuments: Monumento de los Españoles

(Photo by N i c o_)

The Monumento de los Españoles (Spaniards Monument), also known as the Monumento a La Carta Magna y las Cuatro Regiones Argentinas (Monument of the Magna Carta and the Four Argentine Regions), is one of the most renowned in the city and was a gift from the Spanish community for the Centennial of the May Revolution.  Although the founding stone was set in 1910 when the Catalan Agustí Querols Subirats began its design, he passed away shortly and the building of the monument suffered many setbacks taking a long time to build.  After Querol’s death, Cipriano Folgueras was assigned the project but he also died in the meantime and so the monument’s rising was further delayed. Another unfortunate event occurred in 1916 when the ocean liner that was carrying the materials for the monument sank midway.  Finally, the stunning 24,5 m high marble and brass monument was finished and inaugurated in 1927.

At its top is a symbolic statue of the republic with allegoric marble representations of labor and work at its base, and bronze figures that represent the Andes, Pampa, Chaco and de la Plata regions. Its inscriptions include a fragment of the Argentine constitution that proclaims freedom for the country and for any person in the world who wishes the make Argentina their home and also four statements that proclaim the brotherhood of Argentina and Spain, their people, their language and their destiny.

 The stunning statue is the largest and one of the most beautiful monuments in the city. It is located in Palermo on the intersection of Av. Libertador and Av. Sarmiento.

Cuisine & Vins 2012

(Photo by Alicia Nijdam)

Starting today, the annual Cuisine & Vins Expo will be taking place at the stunning Palacio Paz.

The event, which will take place from the 6th to the 8th of June, will offer visitors the opportunity to sample a variety of Argentine wines from over twenty wineries.  Additionally there will also be stands with gourmet and deli products from around the country, cigars and more to enjoy.

The expo is also ideally set in the Palacio Paz, in front of the Plaza San Martín. This emblematic architectural landmark is known for its beautiful interiors and it’s facades, inspired by one of the Louvre’s facades and the Chantilly Palace in France. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, tours in English at 3.30pm can be booked in advance for groups of four or more people.

Cuisine & Vins 2012

6th-8th of June from 5pm-11pm

Tickets: 130 pesos

Palacio Paz

Santa Fe 750, Downtown.

4311 1071

Top Buenos Aires Views

(Photo by J)

Palacio Barolo: This architectural landmark, full of references to poet Dante Alighieri, began its construction in 1919, destined to be the tallest structure in Latin America at the time. The view from the top balcony is stunning, so much so that they offer a New Year midnight tour to see the fireworks from one of the best vantage points in the city. Guided tours are available Mondays and Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm, and evening guided tours on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8pm and Thursdays at 8.30pm include tasting of an awarded wine and a national delicacy. Av de Mayo 1370 9° P. Esc. 249/52. Tel/Fax: (54-11) 4381-1885. info@palaciobarolotours.com.ar

Galeria Guemes: This historic gallery, considered to be the city’s first skyscraper, where Antoine de Saint Exupery used to spend much of his time, and where Julio Cortazar set his story “The Other Sky”, has the only 360° view of the city. Unfortunately it is not always open to the public, and will be closed until spring. Florida 165, Downtown. 4331-3041.

Hotel Panamericano: This lavish downtown hotel overlooks the 9 de Julio Avenue, the Obelisk and the Colón Theatre. It has a privileged view at the top floor where the solarium and spa are, and the Buenos Aires program “Miradores de Buenos Aires” often does tours to visit the stunning location (book your place with one of their tours at 4323-9400, int. 2756).  Carlos Pelegrini 551, downtown. 4348-5000.

Reserva Ecologica: The ecologic reserve in Puerto Madero has one of the best views of the city, albeit from the ground. This is one of the best spots to see the sunset behind the backlit city buildings, framed by leafy trees.  The ecologic reserve is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday and can be toured on weekends from 9.30am-4pm. One Friday a month, the closest to a full moon, a nocturnal tour of the reserve is organized. To participate you must call to sign up on the previous Monday. Av. Tristán Achával Rodríguez 1550, Puerto Madero.  4893-1588/ 4893 -1597 int. 108. reserva_cs@buenosaires.gov.ar

Day Trip to La Plata

(Photo by mccopa)

La Plata is the capital of Buenos Aires province. It is commonly referred to as the “ciudad de los tilos” (linden city) because its streets and squares are lined with linden trees. Its most common nickname however, is “ciudad de las diagonales” (city of diagonals), because urban planner Pedro Benoit, designed its unique city grid full of diagonal streets with small parks or squares every six blocks. It also has rich architecture including a Le Corbusier building, the Catedral de La Plata, which is the largest church in Argentina, and La Plata University, which includes an observatory and a natural history museum, amongst others.

Some places to visit:

Museo de Ciencias Naturales de La Plata: This famous natural sciences museum has a permanent exhibit that traces the history of life from the inorganic to the organic and concluding with mankind and culture. It showcases over 2,500,000 objects including dinosaur fossils. Open Tue-Sun from 10am-6pm. Tickets 6pesos. Paseo del Bosque S/Nº. La Plata. (54-221) 425-7744 / 9161 / 9638. museo@museo.fcnym.unlp.edu.ar.

Catedral Metropolitana de La Plata: This stunning New Gothic style church is the largest in Argentina, and has 37 French and German vitraux, impressive carvings and religious icons and an ecclesiastic museum.  Open Mon-Sat 9am-7pm and Sundays from 9am-8pm. calle 14 between 51 and 53. La Plata. museocatedral@speedy.com.ar.

Casa Curutchet: Swiss architect Le Corbusier built this house for Dr. Curutchet between 1949 and 1953. Now a day it is leased to the Colegio de Arquitectos and can be visited from Tuesday- Friday between 10am-2pm. Entry fee: 40 pesos. 53 Street # 320. La Plata. – Buenos Aires – Argentina. casacurutchet@capba.org.ar.

Parque Provincial Pereyra Iraola: This natural reserve on the outskirts of La Plata city once belonged to the aristocratic Pereyra Iraola family. The premises, which spread over 10,000 hectares, have over 100 tree species, and are commonly visited for bird-watching and horseback riding. It is also an architectural landmark as it has a pampa-style estancia from the 1800’s, where the family lived.

República de Los Niños: This Disney-style children’s theme park on the outskirts of La Plata was built in the early fifties for civic learning. The team of architects based the design on stories by Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm brothers and legends by Tennyson and Mallory. The park also includes a doll museum with dolls from all over the world. The theme park can be visited every day from 10am-6pm and costs 10pesos to get in. Camino General Belgrano and 501, M. B. Gonnet, La Plata. 0221-484-1409.

How to get to La Plata:

The best option is to take a long distance bus from Retiro, which takes approximately an hour to an hour and a half, depending on traffic and on the bus. Buses leave every twenty minutes from the Retiro bus terminal, and tickets cost 20 pesos for the fast bus and 10 pesos for the slower bus that also stops at Constitucion. The bus service is Terminal Costera linea 195 and the timetable is available here.

Another option, which takes longer, is to take the train from the Constitución Train Station. See timetable here.

There is also an English Tour of La Plata with hotel pick-up and drop-off. More information here.