The architecture in Buenos Aires stands proudly as a symbol of the city’s diverse cultural heritage.
Buenos Aires is commonly known as the Paris of South America, and rightfully so! With its rich history, this metropolis is a treasure trove of architectural gems that continue to captivate visitors from around the world.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Buenos Aires was a bustling epicenter of creativity and architectural innovation. By then, European immigrants flocked to Argentina, seeking new opportunities and a better life.
Their arrival sparked an era of architectural brilliance. They brought with them their unique styles and techniques, leaving an incredible mark on the city’s landscape. For this reason, you can now find a lot of especially French-inspired architecture in Buenos Aires, which is also known as the Belle Époque in Buenos Aires.
Get ready! Let’s get immersed in the vibrant soul of Buenos Aires and its best architecture! In the map below, you will find the exact location of the 10 spectacular buildings highlighted in this post, and below are further descriptions of each of them:
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#1 The Palace of Running Waters
The Palace of Running Waters, or El Palacio de Aguas Corrientes in Spanish, is one of the most stunning examples of the beauty of architecture in Buenos Aires.
The building is created to be a water pumping station to manage sanitation issues such as cholera and yellow fever outbreaks. The construction started in 1887 and was finalized in 1894.
Today, it is a highly sought-after tourist attraction in Buenos Aires. The stunning details on the palace are true small artwork. The Palace facade is covered with more than 300,000 glazed colorful terracotta tiles including the Argentine code of arms.
The palace house exhibits Argentina’s water and sanitation history. You are also able to visit the inside through guided tours. If you are interested in learning more about architecture and visiting the Palace of Running Waters, check out this private tour about architecture in Buenos Aires.
Location: Riobamba 750, Buenos Aires
#2 The Church Basílica de Maria Auxiliadora y San Carlos
The Basílica de Maria Auxiliadora y San Carlos is properly one of the most beautiful churches in Buenos Aires.
It is one of the less-known architectural gems in Buenos Aires since few foreign visitors have heard about it.
The impressive church features “candy-striped” columns and a beautiful night blue ceiling together with many beautifully made decorations in its interior.
The Basilica was built between 1900 and 1910. It is located in the neighborhood of Almagro.
Location: Avenida Hipólito Yrigoyen 3999, Buenos Aires
#3 The Barolo Palace
The Barolo Palace, or Palacio Barolo in Spanish, is one of the most iconic examples of architecture in Buenos Aires.
The impressive palace located in downtown Buenos Aires is designed with inspiration from Dante’s Divine Comedy by the Italian architect Mario Palanti.
When you enter from the street level, you enter directly into the building’s representation of hell; it’s dark and mysterious. As you make your way up to the higher floors of the Barolo Palace to get to purgatory and then finally on the top floors and terraces to heaven itself.
From the top floors’ terraces, you have a beautiful view of Buenos Aires. Read more about the Barolo Palace’s viewpoint.
If you would like to learn more about architecture in Buenos Aires and visit the Barolo Palace, consider checking this private tour from Viator out!
Location: Avenida de Mayo 1370, Buenos Aires
#4 Shopping Mall Galerías Pacífico
The shopping mall Galerías Pacífico, or The Pacific Galleries, is one of the most elegant shopping malls in Buenos Aires.
In the shopping mall’s interior, you will find some astounding architecture. The ceiling of the mall’s dome is painted with giant murals and beautifully decorated walls. Therefore, it has also been declared a national historic monument in Argentina.
The building that houses the mall is located in downtown Buenos Aires at the intersection between the popular shopping street, Florida, and Cordoba Avenue.
The building was built in 1889 and was meant to house a department store. However, until 1940 it housed the Fine Arts Museum, Museo de Bellas Artes.
In the 1990s, the building was converted into the shopping mall you see today, but the features of the past were kept.
Location: Avenida Córdoba 550, Buenos Aires
#5 Shopping Arcade Galería Güemes
The Galería Güemes, or Güemes’ Gallery is a shopping arcade in downtown Buenos Aires not far from the shopping mall Galerías Pacífico. The arcade connects the streets popular shopping street of Florida with San Martin street.
While the arcade mostly is famous for its viewpoint on the 16th floor with an amazing 360-view over Buenos Aires, the building itself is also an example of some of Buenos Aires’ amazing architecture.
The building housing Galería Güemes was built between 1913 and 1915 by Italian architect Francisco Gianotti. It represents the popular French Art Nouveau style of the time. Therefore, it has also been recognized as “Testimony of Citizen Memory” (Testimonio de la Memoria Ciudadana) by the City of Buenos Aires because it has maintained its original character and decoration up to today.
Location: Florida 165, Buenos Aires
#6 The Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore
The Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore is a must-see no matter what when you visit Buenos Aires. However, if you are into architecture and history, then it is an even bigger must-see.
This gorgeous bookstore is a former theater and cinema with the most beautiful interior with painted ceilings and gold decorations. When you walk in the door, it’s like stepping into a glorious Argentine past of tango and economic prosperity.
El Grand Splendid Theater opened in 1919 where promising tango stars such as Carlos Gardel among others performed. Towards the end of the 1920s, it was turned into a cinema.
In 2000, the building was sold to the local business group behind the bookstores, El Ateneo and Yenny, and an important renovation of the building took place.
Learn more about the Ateneo Grand Splendid with this private tour from Viator!
Location: Avenida Santa Fe 1860, Buenos Aires
#7 The Round House
The Round House, or la Casa Redonda, is one of the less-known examples of the beautiful architecture to be found in Buenos Aires. By locals, it is known as the Barolo Palace’s little brother because of its strong similarities with the famous Buenos Aires landmark.
And there is actually a very good reason for this! The Round House was designed and built by the Italian architect Mario Palanti, the very same architect that did the iconic Art Nouveau Barolo Palace.
The mansion is located in the exclusive neighborhood of Barrio Parque, a small neighborhood nestled between Palermo and Recoleta. Among locals, the area is also known as the Embassy neighborhood because of the large amounts of foreign embassies located there.
The construction of Palanti’s Round House finished in 1922. Since then it has been the home of wealthy Argentine families, an Embassy as well as an art gallery.
Today, the house is inhabited and closed to public access. But you can still admire its beautiful exterior.
Location: Eduardo Costa 3079, Buenos Aires
#8 La Confiteria del Molino
La Confitería del Molino or the Mill’s Confectionery translated, is a historical Art Nouveau-style building located in downtown Buenos Aires.
The building functioned as a confectionery or coffeehouse from its opening in 1915 until 1997. The same year, it was closed down and abandoned by its owners.
This beauty was crafted by Italian architect Francisco Gianotti, the same architecture behind Galería Güemes.
The building is located just in front of the Argentine National Congress at the intersection of the two main avenues Callao and Rivadavia.
In 2014, the Argentine Congress expropriated the building from its previous owners to begin an important restoration.
As of 2023 is near its completion. For this reason, there is still very limited access to the coffeehouse. But you can still enjoy its beautiful exterior – maybe as an extension of a visit to the Congress.
Location: Avenida Rivadavia 1815, Buenos Aires
#9 The Kirchner Cultural Center (CCK)
The Kirchner Cultural Center, or Centro Cultural Kirchner (CCK), is the former central post office in Buenos Aires. Therefore, it was previously known as El Palacio de Correos y Telecomunicaciones, or translated as The Palace of Posts and Telecommunications.
When visiting the interior of this massive building, you can still see the artifacts from its past. Old post boxes for the different Argentine provinces are engraved into the walls.
Sometimes, you can get all the way up to the building’s top floor. From up here, you have a beautiful view over downtown Buenos Aires.
The building itself dates back to 1889 and worked as the central post office in Buenos Aires until 2002. In 2015, it became a cultural center and changed its name to the current one.
This example of Buenos Aires’ beautiful architecture can be found just a stone’s throw from the popular must-see presidential palace, Casa Rosada.
Location: Sarmiento 151, Buenos Aires
#10 The San Martin Palace
The San Martin Palace, or in Spanish Palacio San Martin, is a gorgeous mansion located by the San Martin Park in the Retiro neighborhood near the city center of Buenos Aires. The mansion was built between 1905 and 1909 by an Argentine-Norwegian architect, Alejandro Christophersen.
Since 1936, the San Martin Palace has been a part of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and used for official ceremonies. However, originally it was built as a family mansion for a wealthy Argentine family. Therefore, the mansion is also known as the Anchorena Palace.
The San Martin Palace is part of the Belle Époque in Buenos Aires, where the city experienced a boom in French-inspired architecture.
It is only possible to visit through a guided tour of the palace. Read more about the guided tours of the San Martin Palace (link in Spanish) or sign up for a private tour from Viator that covers the San Martin Palace and many of the other beautiful buildings on this list.
Location: Arenales 761, Buenos Aires
Which one of these buildings would you like to visit? Or have you an amazing building in Buenos Aires that isn’t on the list? Share your thoughts and knowledge below!
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