Puerto Madero - modern Buenos Aires district with fine architecture, parks, restaurants, masterpieces of Lola Mora, Puente de la Mujer by Santiago Calatrava and more……
Puerto Madero (Buenos Aires): Historical facts
Walking along the main boulevard of today’s Puerto Madero you will see plenty of cafes, fine restaurants and clubs alongside the red-brick buildings.
Open air terraces and patios crowded with locals and tourists seem to invite passersby, vibes of music mixed with smell of juicy “lomos” fill the air, abundance of blooming trees, bushes and flowers catches the eye – you may think it’s nothing unusual for Buenos Aires.
But then following the graceful silhouette of the footbridge spanning the river you realize something unusual for the old city of Buenos Aires - a “forest” of modern skyscrapers dominating the skyline….
Even bizarrely colorful cranes along the river seem to be rather a “tale from the Lego-land” then a reminiscence of the past….
Well, it may be hard to believe that this modern barrio not that long ago was a “no-go” zone with falling apart warehouses, deserted streets and rats….
It all started by the end of 19th century, when Argentinean authorities decided to build a seaport serving fast growing commercial exchanges with the rest of the world. The wining project submitted by Eduardo Madero (based on the design of British engineer John Hawkshaw) proposed the area behind the Plaza de Mayo as the place for the future port.
Map of the modern day Puerto Madero - a new district of Buenos Aires that has been built in the area of the old port.
Source: Ente Turismo de Buenos Aires (Gobierno de la Ciudad)
The rest is a history although in this case – a short-living one. The construction work started in 1887 and ten years later – in 1897 the port facilities of Puerto Madero (as it was called) were officially inaugurated. Construction work was continued into the beginning of 20th century when the red-brick warehouses (today’s landmarks) were built.
Unfortunately for the port, a huge progress in the shipping industry quickly switching from slim sailboats to much bigger, driven by screw propellers iron steamships made the Puerto Madero obsolete. Narrowness of the river and shallow waters prohibited new ships from entering the port sealing the destiny of these still new facilities.
In 1910’s the new much deeper port (called Puerto Nuevo) was built on the open waters of the Rio La Plata. For the next five decades Puerto Madero slowly decayed into a waste-land of ruins…
New era of Puerto Madero
Despite several attempts to “resurrect” the area nothing happened till late 1980’s when the government created the Corporación Antiguo Puerto Madero (“Old Puerto Madero Corporation”) – an organization aimed at bringing back life to this abandoned riverbank. The project quickly surpassed all expectations – Puerto Madero became an exclusive residential, gastronomic and business center of the city cleverly combining old harbor facilities with the new ultramodern architectural trends.
View on the old storage buildings - now converted to restaurants and luxurious lofts.
The area gained the vast network of boulevards and streets – interestingly, all named after the famous Argentinean women starting with the avenue Alicia Moreau de Justo as the border line separating the Puerto Madero from the old part of the city.
Recently as a “sign of time”, the modern tram line “Tranvia del Este” started operation along the avenue Alicia Moreau. Currently the service by ultramodern Citadis 302 cars is provided only over the short distance of 2 km (1.2 miles), mostly for visitors of Puerto Madero. There are however plans for the extension of tram service linking Retiro and La Boca.
It is the first tram service in Buenos Aires since 1960’s – time when the large network of this traditional public communication was dismantled. As the matter of fact at the time Buenos Aires had the most extensive network of trams in the world, with about 860 km (535 miles) of tracks.
During last two decades elegant houses, offices, lofts, restaurants, bars, art galleries and entertainment centers as well as luxurious hotels literally mushroomed. It is also home for private university - Universidad Católica Argentina.
Many renowned international “stars” from the world of design and architecture left here their well visible footprints. Faena Hotel located east to the Dock 2 is the first South-American project by Philip Starck.
Similarly, the Puente de la Mujer (Woman’s Bridge) is the work by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava renowned for such architectural masterpieces like: Milwaukee Art Museum (Wisconsin) Puente del Alamillo (Sevilla), Allen Lambert Galleria (Toronto), Turning Torso (Tower) in Malmö, Chords Bridge (Jerusalem) and the list can go on and on…..
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"Identity" of Puerto Madero and its past - old warehouses....
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Harmonious coexistence of the past with modern architecture of 21st century....
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Old cranes in their new "colorful existence" beautifully blend with the modern architecture of Puerto Madero
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West side of Puerto Madero
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Gardens, parks or simply The Nature have also their place in Puerto Madero adding charm to the old facilities and "softening" the impact of "concrete-steel-and-glass"....
I guess after this general overview at Puerto Madero and its history it is time to see in details some of its landmarks and points of interest.
There are some well known from first pages of newspapers, greatly “resonating” with tourists, being objects of admiration, tales and zillion of pictures. That will be certainly the Women’s Bridge (Puente de la Mujer).
But there are other beautiful and/or meaningful sites that largely escape from attention of unaware visitors. This will be for example the Fine Art Gallery, a place to see not only due to its collection of art, but also because of its eye catching architectural form.
It will be also the masterpiece by the famous Argentinean sculptress Lola Mora – “Font of the Nereids”…
So lets continue our guided walking tour of Puerto Madero thanks to Free Puerto Madero Buenos Aires Pictures.
To continue please select the link: Puente Mujer Puerto Madero next (page 2)
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