Galería Güemes, a hidden Art Nouveau gem in the heart of Buenos Aires

6:05 PM Sandra Gutrejde 1 Comments

Galería Güemes is one of the most beautiful hidden gems of Buenos Aires. Thousands of people walk by it every day, since it is located in the busiest pedestrian street in Buenos Aires, but most of them are unaware of the beauty this building offers inside, since the entrance on Calle Florida 165 is completely unappealing. Its back entrance on San Martín 170, however, still retains its original glory.

Galería Güemes is considered to be the first skyscraper built in Buenos Aires, with its 14 floors and 87 meters high. It was inaugurated in 1915, featuring technical advances for the time, almost futuristic, and comprising a variety of functions in its interior: a theater, a cabaret, and a restaurant underground; apartments over Calle Florida; offices over San Martin; another restaurant with an observation deck on the 14th floor; and a 116 meter long commercial gallery on the ground floor, which connects both streets, inspired in the great covered passages and commercial galleries of the time, especially the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele in Milan. Its apartments were home to some outstanding personalities, like French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of "The Little Prince", and Argentine writer Julio Cortazar.

The architecture is a mix of Art Nouveau, Gothic, and Neoclassical, and was the creation of Italian architect Francisco Gianotti. Galeria Güemes is considered as one of the most representative examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Buenos Aires, with its beautiful marble columns and stairs, bronzes, glass domes, and ornate elevator banks.

The building suffered the neglect and lack of maintenance for decades, but a recent restoration brought the building back to its magnificent splendor, including the recovery of the original glass domes, the repairing of Italian marbles brought for its construction in 1914; the conditioning of the numerous hand made bronze pieces, with a special polishing to regain their original shine. These restoration works have won a Special Mention for the restoration of the Glass Domes at the 2006 Ibero-American Prize for the Best Intervention in the Built Patrimony.

The Art Nouveau underground theater was closed for nearly 40 years, but was also recently restored and today houses the Piazzolla Tango show, one of the most beautiful Tango palaces in Buenos Aires.

There are guided visits to the observation deck on the 14th floor every Thursday at 4 pm.
Galería Güemes official website

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1 comment:

  1. what beautiful photos, sandra! and you're right: no one would ever expect such things off calle florida ;-)