Montevideo – Centro – Architecture

Besides food, a big reason for me to come to Montevideo was to see the architecture. They have an abundance of Art Deco (which I heart), Art Nouveau (can be nice), Neo Classical (s’ok) and Rationalist (meh). As you move inland, away from the insalubrious port area and towards Plaça Independencia, the atmosphere gradually becomes more refined.

The Plaça marks the beginning of the (not so) ‘new’ town, as distinct to the Ciudad Vieja. At one end of the placa is the neo-classical Teatro Solis, constructed in 1856. At the other end the square is dominated by the top heavy Palacio Silva, completed in 1928. The 29 floor building’s highly eclectic design is the work of the Italian architect Mario Palanti, who used a similar design for Palacio Barolo in Buenos Aires, more of which in a future post.

Like Palacio Barolo it was intended that Palacio Salvo would have a lighthouse at the top containing a parabolic mirror and that the light beams from the two buildings would intermingle over the Rio de la Plata, for reasons known only to their Freemason benefactors. Apparently it’s worth getting inside if you can, to get a glimpse of the maritime motifs and stained glass windows that decorate the interior.

Leading from Plaça Independencia, the main artery that runs through Montevideo is Avenida de 18 Julio. The Avenida and many of the side streets off it, are lined with architectural gems, many of which are famous landmarks while others are a bit harder to find. A Google search will throw up lots of suggested architecture walks. This is the walk I chose. I spent several hours taking photos and the pictures below are just a few of the buildings I saw. Please click on them for a better view.

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