Kavanagh Building 
Florida 1065, Plaza San Martin 
Buenos Aires 1005 
Argentina

Sanchez, Lagos & de la Torre 1936

Rising 33 stories at the heart of the city on Plaza San Martin is the magnificent Kavanagh Apartment Building. Expertly adapted to its triangular site on a sloping park facing the Rio de la Plata, the Art Deco volumes of the building ascend to create an impressive silhouette on the Buenos Aires skyline. The buildings towering form, with symmetrical setbacks and gradual surface reductions was a result of city zoning restrictions as well as the limitations of using concrete. The design is a superb hybrid of Modernism, using the forms of an Art Deco American skyscraper with a rationalistic approach.

Considered the apex of early Modernism in Argentina, the Kavanagh was at the time the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world, remaining the tallest building in all of South America for many years. Aimed at upper middle class individuals, no initial cost regulations were set up in order to assure a high quality of result, with all 105 apartments containing the latest in technological advances, including being the first building ever built with central air conditioning. Apartments on the upper floors have exquisite terrace gardens with views of the river, parks and the city.

The development and construction of the building was financed by one of Argentina's wealthiest women, Corina Kavanagh, who invested all she had inherited, selling off additional property in order to fund this masterpiece.

The Kavanagh is one of Buenos Aires most iconic buildings, and is still a much-coveted address. The building is currently undergoing an extensive cleaning of its surfaces.

Serianne Worden 2004

 


How to visit

Located at the end of pedestrian-only Florida Street, the building's form is easily identifiable on Plaza San Martin, in the Retiro neighborhood of downtown Buenos Aires. The area is accessible by many buses as well as by subway: take Linea C to the San Martin stop and walk southeast across the park.

The building is private and can be viewed only from the exterior. Visitors are not allowed into the building, but you may step in to the lobby and ask the guard for a look. The answer will most likely be No, but you will have a chance for a quick glance at the lobby's luxurious finishes.

 

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