buenos aires

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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housing for the masses: microbarrio la colonia, 1914

Microbarrio La Colonia, 1914 • Parque Patricios
Cachí & José A. Cortejarena

Initially I hadn’t planned on writing about this particular housing project, but Friday I spent a couple hours at the Instituto Histórico & found an article about it written by their staff in 1987. Since there is relatively little info anywhere else about this, I thought I’d post it for anyone who might be interested.

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housing for the masses: casa chorizo

Buenos Aires, casa chorizo, Parque Chas

Of the many different solutions proposed & built to solve the Argentine housing crisis, it’s easy to forget how innovative they really were. We’re used to seeing modern versions as apartment complexes & condominiums. Big deal. But it was the first time that they had ever been built in Argentina. One hundred years ago in Buenos Aires, none of those types of living quarters existed. Zero.

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housing for the masses: microbarrio monseñor espinosa, 1923

Microbarrio Monseñor Espinosa, 1923 • Barracas
Perdriel & California

Contrasting greatly with the previous complex, these semi-detached chalets are like a little piece of paradise. Also built with fundraising money from the Unión Popular Católica Argentina, land was donated by the Pereyra Iraola & Herrera Vega families. Gardens cut through 60 units in a cross shape, & note that this is not the size of a city block… but it’s about half of an overly large block. In fact, the odd shape is due to following the diagonal line of the existing layout. Designed by Carlos Cucullu, it has been wonderfully maintained & I would love to live there.

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housing for the masses: casa colectiva valentín alsina, 1919

Buenos Aires, Parque Patricios, Casa Colectiva Valentín Alsina, 1919

Inspired by the action of Azucena Butteler, numerous private & public schemes were proposed to acquire funds needed for housing projects. Some of the proposals were: government allocations directly controlled by Congress, a direct tax on Jockey Club members, or loans for low-income government employees underwritten by the Central Bank. It was finally decided that 75% of the Jockey Club’s profits from Thursday horse races were to be donated to a general housing construction fund. Money began to flow in, but how should the government use it?