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A cultural urban transformation: apartment building construction and domestic space for the upper classes in 1930s Buenos Aires

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During the 1930s, Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, grew taller, for many high-rise apartment buildings proliferated in the city centre and in the wealthiest neighbourhoods. Their construction could be seen as one of the urban consequences of the 1929 economic crisis. In this article, I focus on the impact of these urban changes on social and spatial mobility, the interaction of social aspiration with architectural changes in the apartment dwelling for the rich and on family strategies carried out to reach or reaffirm their position in the social hierarchy. The key point of analysis is the transition from the first generation of high-class apartments, inspired by European bourgeois houses to modern apartments, as the result of economic, social and cultural change. This paper seeks to analyse how the global 1930 crisis impacted on the urban structure and on social and domestic space in Buenos Aires. Elements to articulate an answer come from piecing together small fragments of historical evidence and by building bridges between the history of iconic buildings for the affluent and the history of professional architects and their patrons in the city, to illuminate the way those privileged Argentineans chose to live in the 1930s.
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Keywords: Buenos Aires apartments; domestic space; iconic buildings; social change; upper-class dwellings

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universidad de Buenos AiresFacultad de Arquitectura, DiseƱo y Urbanismo, Las Heras 3847 8th G. (1425ATC)Buenos Aires, Argentina

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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