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This is one of my favorite buildings both here in BsAs and also across the Rio Plata in Montevideo, Uruguay. For both this palacio and the Palacio Salvo were designed by Mario Palanti and were to be very close to each other in spirit and mode. The Barolo was finished two years ahead of its transfluvial brother – 1923 – and was the tallest building in BsAs until 1935 – the Palacio Salvo is still Montevideo’s tallest. Details of the building are full of references to Dante’s Divine Comedy: 100 meters tall in reference to the number of songs; 22 stories to the number of verses, three overall sections corresponding to Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Lonely Planet describes its Uruguayan twin as an ‘art deco rocket about to take off’ and the same could be said here, though that description might not be as obvious since the Barolo is not as solitary a structure as is the Salvo – which sits directly on Independence Square and the Barolo is one of many buildings you have to look above the leafs along the Avenida de Mayo for. The building is private, so all of those ‘inner’ references to the Divine will have to wait for a good friend to show you around ;-\
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The 2nd most extraordinary building in BA
1370 Avenida de Mayo is the address of a truly extraordinary building. At first glance it looks like yet another tall city building, all curved balconies, top heavy and with an odd central tower, 20th century Expressionism in concrete perhaps, just one more striking building of the period among many in this area of Buenos Aires. When Italian-born business man Luis Barolo funded the building, his aim was to create something of the fine architecture of Europe in the New World. On its completion in 1923, the Palacio Barolo was Buenos Aires’ tallest building, its rotating lighthouse (lit by 300,000 lamps) visible across the Rio de la Plata in Uraguay. All very splendid and reason enough for the Palacio to hold a special place among the many wonderful buildings in Buenos Aires.
Then you're told, or you read, something about the architect's inspiration and the building begins to take on a whole new look. Italian architect Mario Palanti had a passion for Dante's Inferno and he set about creating an allegorical tribute to the work in his adopted home in Argentina, importing most of the materials from Italy. (Despite being a Spanish colony originally, by the early 20th century there were so many Italians living in the country a referendunm was held to decide whether Spanish or Italian should be the official language.) Virtually every aspect of the building carries a reference to Dante's poem.
Ascending the building you pass through Hell (the entry) and Purgatory (levels 2-14) before arriving in Heaven (levels 15-22) - a reference to the three books of the poem.. We only saw Hell, with its fiery floor and many bronze dragons. Had we taken a full tour of the building we would have ascended to Heaven, arriving finally at the rooftop lighthouse, symbolic of God and Salvation.
The Inferno references continue in the height of the building - 100 metres - the number of cantos in the literary work, and the 22 stanzas of the cantos translating into 22 floors. Nine domes in the central hall ceiling are the nine steps towards paradise. Every floor has either 11 or 22 offices - again reflecting the number of stanzas.
I could go on, there are lots more Dante-inspired aspects to the building. Taking a guided tour will leave you full bottle on all the details.
Definitely worth every penny to go to Avenida de Mayo and take a toru of htis weird high rise from the beginning of 20th century. Fab views, but the building representing Dantes works is just great. THe tour was informative nad friendly. see www.pbarolo.com.ar
El Palacio Barolo se inauguró en 1922, financiado por el empresario italiano Luis Barolo, que instaló la primera hilandería de lana peinada del país y produjo famosos casimires. Hasta la construcción en 1935 del Kavanagh fue el edificio más alto de Buenos Aires.
Con los pisos superiores destinados a oficinas, el edificio se caracteriza por el pasaje comercial que une Avenida de Mayo con Hipólito Irigoyen, creando un espacio de escala monumental desde el que se accede a escaleras y ascensores. Obra exuberante y espectacular, fue proyectada por el arquitecto milanés Mario Palanti según los ideales del eclecticismo, sumando a la mezcla o secuencia de estilos históricos, elementos propios de las nuevas tipologías funcionales, para lograr el "carácter" y fuerza expresiva del edificio.
Así, la estructura de hormigón armado del Pasaje Barolo, técnica constructiva de vanguardia adecuada para su tipología de "rascacielos", sostiene un edificio de fuerte carga simbólica, concebido por su autor como un "templo" a la manera medieval, pleno de alusiones cósmicas, alquímicas, religiosas, cuyas proporciones se basan en el número áureo.
Estas ideas se traducen en la compleja ornamentación (ej. arcos y bóvedas que descansan en ménsulas con imagen de dragón), impecablemente ejecutada. La fachada, caracterizada por la densidad de sus aventanamientos, tiene un cuerpo central marcado en el plano inferior por un tímpano vidriado, y rematado por la torre superior, con un faro giratorio en la punta, a 103 metros de altura.
- Castles and Palaces
This is one of the more impressive buildings in the city, due mostly to its flamboyant, non-academic style. Constructed with funds donated by an Italian textile tycoon, Luis Barolo, it was designed by Architect Mario Palati. It was inaugurated in 1923 and was for 12 years the tallest skyscraper in the city. The dome is 16 meters in height and was inspired by and Indian Temple. According to the Clarin, you can see Dante's Divine Comedy influence in the design, with references to hell, purgatory and Heaven. I don't know -- I'm not laughing. My neck still hurts from staring up!!
Barolo Alley is open Monday thru Friday 7am to 2pm and Saturdays 7am to 12pm
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- Castles and Palaces
The Barolo building.
Another beautiful building located in the Avenida de Mayo. It was constructed by the italian architect Mario Palanti (very similar to the Savio building in Montevideo, built by the same architect)
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