Monday, November 14, 2011

Building Otto Wulf, Buenos Aires

Building Otto Wulf is a singular building, of style Art nouveau, located in the intersection of Belgrano Avenue and Peru Street (Belgrano 691) in the district of Monserrat, in City of Buenos Aires, Argentina .
The construction that began in 1912 and finalized in 1914 was realized by order of the shipping industralist Nicholas Mihanovich in society with also the industralist Otto Wulf and there the diplomatic delegation of the Autrohúngaro Empire settled of which first he was honorary consul from 1899.
He was one of two unique works realized in the country by Danish architect Morten F. Rönnow - of the Jugendstil- school (the other was the Dane Church in San Telmo) in the double character of designer and work director. The construction, for which materials of Europe were engaged in, was in charge of engineers Pedro Dirks and Luis You date.
Form leaves from the Catalog of Buildings of Patrimonial Value of the city and is one of the few constructions realized in that year in reinforced concrete.
The estate where the construction became
The building Otto Wulf also was called the house of the old virreina having alluded to the large house that had existed in the place that outside acquired in 1801 by the eighth Virrey of the River of the Silver Joaquin of the Pine and Clearing to shelter to its family (seven children of a first marriage and nine of the second marriage. The virrey passed away in 1804 and its widow Rafaela de Vera Mujica and Painted Lopez that died in 1816. Juana of Pino and Balbastro, one of the daughters of the marriage, lived near this house in the street Defense 346/356 then from 1809 was wife of Bernardino Rivadavia, first Argentine president (1826-1827).
This house had a made parapet pierced and heraldic in the door, being model of the great Buenosairean patriarchal houses. In the part superior there was a roof protected with a rubblework balustrade, pierced by openings, calls " oculus", and several pinnacles on the railing. Thence one fought the 5 of 1807 July when the English wanted to take by assault the house.
Soon the building belonged to the father of Medrano bishop, who made record his shield of family on the fore door and was obispal residence of the city of Buenos Aires, house of the minister of Portugal before the Confederation and from the 23 of May of 1878 it soothes of the Municipal Charitable fund, (preceding of the Bank City of Buenos Aires). By the end of century XIX that house was turned into tenancy. Soon the sale in public auction came in which Mihanovich acquired the house in $ 60. - and the later demolition of the existing constructions, and its replacement by the building Otto Wolf. The Danish architect that designed the building, Morten F. Rönnow, before demolishing the house, realized a relief that gave to the School of Architecture.
The Austrohungarian legation had there his soothes from the inauguration of the building to the landslide of the Austrohungarian empire when finalizing World War I . At the moment it is divided in 56 units occupied by commercial and professional offices, mainly architecture studies.
In the present facade there is a plate with the figure of the old house and the inscription: " The Bank of the City of Buenos Aires in its centenary remembers soothes of its precursor " Mount of Piedad" installed in this lot of the house of the Virreina 23/5/1978".
The construction carried out the company to it Dirks and Dates, and the inauguration was carried out in 1914.
The architectonic style of the building has been located in the Jugendstil, the Germanic version of art nouveau, but also has Renaissance characteristics, of Neogótico and eclecticism, plus some esoteric outlines of Palanti, mainly those of its wonderful Barolo .
An eccentricity that comes from the times of the Greek architecture consists of replacing the columns by human figures, thus reviviendo to Cariátides women who apparently maintain without effort the ceiling of the lateral porch of a called temple Erecteión, that is in the Acropolis of Athens. When those figures are masculine they call atlantes. In this building eight atlantes shine, three on the street Belgrano and five on Peru, of five meters, in attitude to be maintaining from the second floor the rest of the construction, each one of as it represents one of the arts and offices related to her: blacksmith, carpenter, bricklayer, forjador, foreman, sculptor, and in ochava the work head and the architect that is the same Rönnow. A curiosity is that the figures have characteristics corresponding to the native population. In the wood, of 5 meters of height and also of other units of the local fauna are sculptures of Condors, such as Dark-brown Bears Penguins and Lechuzas
The figures are not of stone but of reinforced concrete, indicating that the constructors preferred the most modern techniques.
The building is finished off by two beautiful cupuladas towers, from the seventh floor, each with a water tank available in case of fire, done - like atlantes- in reinforced concrete, that end in two high needles. As one takes to the sun in its end and the other crown, (it seems that moon lost original), that conjectured that represented the emperor Francisco Jose and his wife, Isabel de Wittelsbach-Wittelsbach, well-known like Sissí that died in 1898 and, also, to the imperial alliance between Austria and Hungary.
When it was constructed, with almost 60 meters of height, and during some years, this building was highest of Buenos Aires. At the moment in the valuation of specialists is considered it along with the one of the Confectionery of the Mill, most important of Buenos Aires. It is catalogued with structural protection from the point of view of the norms on architectonic conservation, which means that any modification requires the previous authorization.
In 1998 the municipality faced the repair of the cupolas, because storms happened in 1994 and March of that year brought about damages, among them the displacement of the lightning rods more than 10 degrees of its axis. In that year some proprietors of the building affirmed that the cupola that also represented Sissi showed, when the building was inaugurated, a picture of her. 

Edificio Otto Wulf, Buenos Aires

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translation   Architecture by me

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