From Paris To Buenos Aires
The Paz Palace (also known as the Retiro Palace) was the residence of José C. Paz, who was founder of the newspaper La Prensa and Argentine ambassador to Paris from 1885 to 1893. In those years that he lived in “the City of Light”, His stay was decisive for the consolidation of the Argentine image in said country due to the consecration of his management through the monumental Argentine pavilion next to the Eiffel Tower, at the 1889 Paris Universal Exhibition. This left Paz with great admiration for the cultural refinement and technical progress of the time in France, which is why it decides the aesthetics of the work. Before his return, he commissioned French architect Louis-Marie Henri Sortais to design his mansion. The construction was directed by the Argentine architect and engineer Carlos Agote and took twelve years: from 1902 to 1914. Paz did not see the work completed, as he died in 1912. The architect Sortais, who was never in Buenos Aires , he also did not see it completed since he died a year earlier, in 1911. It was Paz's wife and children who lived in the residence.
The palace is highly representative of the Beaux-Arts architecture of the early 20th century, reflecting the aesthetic canons also of the Paris School of Fine Arts. Its main entrance is located at Avenida Santa Fe 750, in front of Plaza San Martín. Since 1938 it has been the headquarters of the Military Circle.
The Errázuriz palace is located at Avenida del Libertador 1902, in the Palermo neighborhood. It was designed, in 1911, by the French architect René Sergent, in a French neoclassical style. The work was carried out at the request of the Chilean diplomat Matías Errázuriz and his wife Josefina de Alvear and is one of the most elegant mansions in the city of Buenos Aires. The couple had lived in Europe for ten years and there acquired a valuable collection of works of European and Eastern art. In 1936, the National State bought the house and the collections, and a year later, the National Museum of Decorative Art was created.
When Doña Josefina de Alvear died in 1935, her heirs sold the mansion and a large part of the collection of works to the Argentine government, with the condition that it be used as a museum. The current National Museum of Decorative Art opened its doors to the public for the first time in 1937. Since 1944, it has also housed the Argentine Academy of Letters, the National Academy of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Decorative Art and the National Museum. of Oriental Art.
The Pereda Palace is located at 1130 Arroyo Street, in the Recoleta neighborhood. In 1917, the marriage of Celedonio Pereda, a Galician doctor, and María Justina Girado, belonging to one of the largest families that had owned large areas of countryside since the 18th century, commissioned the construction of this palace to the architect Louis Martin, who at the request of Pereda was inspired by the Jacquemart Andrè Museum in Paris.
In 1919, since the interior of the palace and the design of the main staircase did not meet the expectations of the Pereda family, Celedonio decided to continue with the Belgian architect Julio Dormal, an important representative of French academicism in Argentine architecture, and who He had stood out for carrying out significant works such as the Teatro Colón, the Congress Palace and the Government House in the Province of Buenos Aires.
In 1924, before the construction was completed, the architect Dormal died, leaving one of his faithful outstanding students to complete the four thousand square meters and the chapel on the first floor. The work was completed in 1936.
In 1938, the Brazilian ambassador João Batista Luzardo fell in love with this property, to the point that the Brazilian Government offered to buy the palace. In 1944, the Peredas moved and since that moment it has functioned as an embassy of the neighboring country. Brazilians have taken care of this work of art of 20th century architecture over time, and it underwent two major restorations, in 1989 and in 2015.
Grenenteri, Fabio. Grandes residencias de Buenos Aires. Ed. Lariviére
Ortíz Basualdo Palace
Another greatest exponent of the Paris School of Fine Arts is the Ortiz Basualdo Palace, located at 1399 Cerrito Street, in the Retiro neighborhood. It was designed in 1912 by the French architect Paul Pater, who also designed the Tigre Club building, where the first casino to be installed in the country operated until 1933, today being the Tigre Art Museum.
Because Pater had to return to France in 1914 to fight in the First World War, the work on the palace was completed 6 years later under the direction of Eugenio Gant Ner, Pater's partner.
The mansion was the scene of an active social life. In 1925, during the presidency of Marcelo T. de Alvear, it served as the official residence of the Prince of Wales, who is said to have shown his admiration for the refined comfort and grandeur of the residence.
In 1939, after the death of Daniel Ortiz Basualdo, his wife sold the residence to the French government; since then the palace has served as the headquarters of the French embassy in Argentina.
The influence of French architecture in the city of Buenos Aires has been decisive, especially at the beginning of the 20th century, when large residences were built in the area that extends from Retiro to Recoleta. The predominant style was that of French classicism of the 17th and 18th centuries. For this reason, the city was known as the “Paris of South America.” Most of these residences were converted into imposing headquarters of embassies, chancelleries or museums. Some of them are described below.
San Martin Palace
The current San Martín Palace was built between 1905 and 1909, by the Norwegian architect Alejandro Christophersen, at the request of Mercedes Castellanos de Anchorena. It is located at 761 Arenales Street, in the Retiro neighborhood, in front of Plaza San Martín. The Anchorena Palace was the venue for important social gatherings, such as the Independence Centennial dance in 1916.
The building is an exponent of the Paris School of Fine Arts and is inspired by the project "Hotel a Paris pour un riche Banquier", with which Jean Louis Pascal (Christophersen's teacher) wins the "Grand Prix de Rome" - maximum architecture award of the time - in 1866.
The almost sculptural treatment facades present prominent attics, domes, chimneys, portholes; columns and supports that cover the two main floors and balconies supported by important supports.
Since its construction and during the twenty years in which it was owned by the Anchorena family, it was popularly known as the Anchorena Palace, until in 1936 it was acquired by the Argentine government and became the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, renamed the Palace. San Martin. In 1993, the Chancellery Building was inaugurated, a modern building for the operation of that Ministry, leaving the traditional palace as the ceremonial headquarters of the Argentine Chancellery.