Designed by English Argentine architect Juan Waldorp, Patio Bullrich was originally built as an auction house in 1867 for the prominent local Bullrich family. The auction house was long one of the city's premier sales floors for livestock, particularly prize bulls, and thoroughbreds, as well as serving as a consignment house for a variety of valuable heirlooms and other collectible items.
The upscale area's rising real estate values prompted the Bullrich family to sell the acre-size Avenida del Libertador lot to Alto Palermo, S.A., a leading local commercial real estate developer during the mid-1980s. Alto Palermo commissioned Pfeifer & Zurdo Architects to convert the cavernous building into a shopping center. Designing a six-story arcade they maintained some of the original aspects of Waldorp's design, including a massive clock tower numerous marble animal head wall sculptures and the neoclassical façade.
Inaugurated in August 1988, Patio Bullrich was the first of a series of new upscale shopping galleries opened in subsequent years to replace aging favorites, and pre-dated Galerías Pacífico, the better-known shopping center likewise built in a historic building, by three years. Modernized and expanded in 1995, Patio Bullrich includes 89 retail outlets, including Armani Exchange, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Diesel, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hugo Boss, Kenzo, Lacoste, Salvatore Ferragamo and Swarovski, as well as a stagecraft gift shop run by the Colón Theatre Foundation and four cinemas.