259 posts & counting…

housing for the masses: para agentes policiales, 1926

Hogar Policial (no official name), 24 units • San Telmo
Avenida Independencia & Avenida Ingeniero Huergo

Throughout the previous posts in this series, you’ve seen a variety of solutions to the housing shortage in Buenos Aires after millions of immigrants arrived. To refresh your memory, there were three groups responsible for building housing projects:

  • religious organizations funded through donations
  • the Comisión Nacional de Casas Baratas with federal government funding
  • the privately-owned Compañía de Construcciones Modernas
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housing for the masses: unbuilt bereterbide

Fermín Bereterbide, unbuilt projects, Boletín del Honorable Concejo Deliberante 1939

Something that caught my eye while I was researching the history of BA housing is the large number of projects that were never built. Lots of factors prevented plans from becoming a reality… lack of funds, disagreement over execution, problems purchasing land, excessive construction costs, or even international conflicts. Take your pick. So when I come across plans of projects that could have been, it’s a bit like discovering a time capsule.

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housing for the masses: barrio parque los andes, 1928

Buenos Aires, Chacarita, Barrio Parque Los Andes, Wikipedia photo, circa 1930

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That must have been Fermín Bereterbide’s motto. Shortly after constructing his first housing project in the neighborhood of Flores, he won another city-sponsored contest for three more developments. Futuristically named “Alpha,” “Beta,” & “Gamma,” only the first was built. The others were destined for Palermo & Flores, but never became more than plans on paper… definitely a loss for Buenos Aires.

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housing for the masses: la mansión de flores, 1924

La Mansión de Flores, 1924 • Flores
Yerbal & Gavilán

Social do-gooder architect Fermín Bereterbide didn’t waste much time. After graduating in 1918, his first major contest win was only 2 years later for a housing project to be located in Flores, sponsored by the Unión Popular Católica Argentina. But winning the contest didn’t mean it was built right away. The UPCA had to find land at an affordable price, & they finally found what they were looking for… right by the railroad tracks. As part of a purchase/donation, half of a city block was available for Bereterbide’s winning design in 1923. Construction took less than one year.

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