discovering the world… & myself

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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housing for the masses: barrio cafferata, 1921

Barrio Cafferata, Parque Chacabuco, Buenos Aires, vivienda social, housing project, 1921

Barrio Cafferata, 1921 • Parque Chacabuco
Avenida José M. Moreno & Salas

For all the private donations & construction projects I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the federal Comisión Nacional de Casas Baratas (CNCB) had only one building complete by 1920. Large tracts of land purchased by the government sat empty while legislators debated on the best (& most affordable) way to build housing projects. I’m not sure whether it was embarrassment at their years of inaction or merely a decision to experiment, but the early 1920’s were a busy time for the CNCB.

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