Buenos Aires Central Post Office

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Central Post Office
Correo Central
Palacio de Correos Ciudad de Buenos Aires.JPG
The building in 2007.
General information
Town or city Buenos Aires
Country Argentina
Construction started 1889
Inaugurated 1928; 87 years ago (1928)
Renovated 2015; 0 years ago (2015)
Owner Government of Argentina
Height 60 m (200 ft)
Technical details
Floor area 88,050 m2 (947,800 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect Norbert Maillart

The Buenos Aires Central Post Office (native name: "Palacio de Correos y Telecomunicaciones" or most commonly, "Correo Central"), was the seat of the Argentine Post Office, and the Néstor Kirchner Cultural Centre since May 2015. The building, made in Beaux-Arts architecture style and designed by French architect Norbert Maillart, is located in the San Nicolás, Buenos Aires neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

The building, projected to be seat of the Argentine Central Post Office, started to be constructed in 1899, being inaugurated in 1928 by then president of Argentina Marcelo T. de Alvear, with several changes to the original design by Maillart.[1]

The Palacio de Correos was declared National Heritage in 1997 due to its architectural style, historical relevance and the artworks inside the building. It ceased activities as a post office in 2003 and two years later the National Government called a tender to turn the building into a cultural centre as part of the celebrations to commemorate the 200th. anniversary of May Revolution. The first name chosen was "Centro Cultural del Bicentenario", changing to "Néstor Kirchner Cultural Centre" in 2012.[2][3][4]

History[edit]

Original project[edit]

The former post office building (c. 1873), currently part of Casa Rosada.
The building under construction, 1920.

Due to the increasing demand for post services in Argentina, in 1888 the Post Office director, Ramón Cárcano, proposed a specific building as seat for the Postal Service. The Ministry of Public Works hired French architect Norbert-Auguste Maillart to design the building and carry out the project. Maillart's concept building was based on the City Hall Post Office of New York.

Once the project received approval from the president Miguel Juárez Celman, Maillart started works in 1889 on a land given by the society Las Catalinas, sited on the block among Leandro N. Alem Ave., Corrientes Ave., Bouchard and Sarmiento streets. Works were interrupted in 1890 because of the economic crash that caused the fall of president Juárez Celman.

Modifications[edit]

It was not unitl 1905 when the National government released funds to finish the building. Many years had passed and the original project by Maillart involved a smaller building became obsolete due to the increasing demand for postal service. Therefore the post director Ernesto Bosch, proposed a new design for the building and Maillart was hired again in 1908 to carry out the new project.

Unlike the previous project, the new building would have an entrance on Sarmiento street. To facilite access to building for people, it was planned to build bridges and pedestrian areas, installed on archs and columns that would join the upper border of the 25 de Mayo street with the entrances of the building. Besides, inclined planes would be placed to connect those streets with Leandro N. Alem avenue. Some sorrounding buildings, such as the Stock Exchange of Buenos Aires and the Calvet Building were constructed according to that project that finally was never carried out.

Final version[edit]

The palace in 2013.

In 1911 Maillart retired from the project in disagreement with the authorities. The National Direction of Architecture designed Maillart's main collaborator, Russian Jacques Spolsky to continue the project. Spolsky had already designed the Palacio de Correos of Tucumán and its homonym of Rosario.

After Spolsky was designated the original project was significantly modified. Some of the changes included a metallic structure and the use of materials such as cement. Due to the land had gained to the Río de la Plata, it was necessary to sink 2,882 10 m (33 ft) concrete piles to avoid problems with the foundations.

In 1916, one year after the company hired for the construction of the building transferred the contract to Public Works General Company, the executive authority suspended the construction of the bridges and inclined planes due to the economic crisis and the lack of materials due to the World War I. As a result, some concepts of the palace had to be changed. The picture windows on the second floor (Sarmiento street side) had been originally conceived as entrances, therfore mezzanines were added whild some floors were demolished to convert first and second basements into main hall entrances, putting the windows there.

Funds ran out in 1923 so a new law as promulgated to grant new funds, while works were awarded to a new company. The building was finally inaugurated on September 28, 1928, two weeks before Alvear finished his tenure as president of Argentina. During the first mandates of president Juan Perón, his wife Eva Perón had her office at the Palacio. The Eva Perón Foundation also used the building as seat.

in 1997, the Palacio de Correos was declared National Heritage by Law 12,665,[5] considering its architectural style and historic relevance. In 2002 the building ceased operations as seat of Correo Argentino.[6] Only a small part of the building continued its activities as a post office and sale of stamps, on Sarmiento street. The rest of the building became inactive.

See also[edit]

References[edit]