Design Exchanges in Mid-Twentieth Century Buenos Aires: The Programme Parque Almirante Brown and its Process of Creative Appropriation
This article offers a critical analysis of planning and housing design in mid-twentieth century Buenos Aires, Argentina, within the wider global context of modern design and architecture. In particular, the article focuses on an urban development programme, Parque Almirante Brown (PAB), and on its design plans for slums, shantytowns and social housing. The PAB creatively intertwined elements from different design and planning traditions, including urban design approaches fostered by the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM). This article argues that the way in which the PAB incorporated these approaches implies the selection of concepts that responded to the government’s political agenda. In other words, it was only through their intersection with local political anxieties that international ideas were included in the actual design of the programme. Specifically, with regard to informal settlements, the PAB followed modern architectural practices based on slum clearance. Simultaneously, it filtered out those ideas which celebrated the vernacular, registered positive aspects in slum life, or granted agency to grassroots groups. Thus, despite contemporaneous discussions which engaged with bottom-up participation, such as those of Team 10, the PAB ultimately proposed the eradication of the shantytowns and the forced displacement of their inhabitants.
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Citation : Massidda, A.L. (2017) Design Exchanges in Mid-Twentieth Century Buenos Aires: The Programme Parque Almirante Brown and its Process of Creative Appropriation. Journal of Design History, 32 (1), pp. 35–51
ISSN : 1741-7279
Research Institute : Institute of Architecture
Peer Reviewed : Yes