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Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Researcher: Maria Brito
Year: 2014
download shape files

Narrative:
‘Barrio Perón’ is a form of urbanism developed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the first presidential term of Juan Domingo Perón (1946 to 1952). Originally named ‘Barrio Juan Perón’, the currently called ‘Barrio Brigadier Cornelio Saavedra’ was projected in 1946 and constructed between 1947 and 1949, during the first phase of the Peronist housing policies (1946 to 1949). This phase involved the government’s direct participation in the construction of large massive housing projects for the working-class population (Ballent 2005). This planned community for 2,200 people included 427 houses and a civic center with a church, a school, a cinema-theatre, commercial shops, a gas station, and post office and telecommunications services (Gutierrez 2011).

This form of urbanism reflected the Peronist political ideal of ‘social justice’ through the fulfilment of the homeownership right of the working-class population. It operated as a socio-economic and physical transitional landscape. In the socio-economic point of view, ‘Barrio Perón’ represented the up-ward mobility of the lower-class masses into the ‘middle-class’. The working class exercising its right to “vivienda propia” (home ownership) and sharing the same architectural “taste” than the upper class. The architecture depicted in the public buildings and the housing uses the Californian Style, a style derived from the Mission Style of Baja California and adopted in Argentina 15 years back by the upper class for their vacation houses. In this way, the “chalecito californiano” was used as a symbol of the acquisition of new rights and the extension of the wellbeing to the working class (Ballent 2005).

The physical or spatial transition was the result of the 1930s debates in the advantages of a rural way of living. The introduction of the concept of ‘garden cities’ representing the harmonic relationship between urban space, society, and nature resulted in a street pattern of mildly curved streets that contrasted with the orthogonal grid system used in the rest of the city. The location of ‘Barrio Perón’ at the border of the city, next to Avenida General Paz justified the symbolic transition between urban and rural, with the gradually organic curving of the street pattern and the gradually increasing green vs. built ratio. The use of the Californian style reinforces the rural discourse by providing a serene and peasant environment that was intended to be associated with the vacation houses of the upper-class and also with the rustic ranches of the countryside.

The transitional idea did not reproduce itself. Barrio Perón remained included in a green oasis surrounded by a dense urbanity, and Buenos Aires continued developing beyond the border of the capital city with the same grid pattern and density as before. Other urban forms similar to Barrio Perón developed during the 1940s and 1950s all over the country; some of them became absorbed by the cities’ development, others remained like Barrio Perón: distinct urban forms within an homogeneous grid.

Data Evaluation
I worked with two different types of information: one to analyze the idea of a social transition of the urban form and the other to analyze the spatial or physical transition idea. Both groups of information were complementary to each other and helped me to develop a better understanding on the ways that landscape and architectural ideas can influence society.

SOCIAL TRANSITION ANALYSIS:
Ballent, Anahi. 2005. Las Huellas de la política. Vivienda, ciudad, peronismo en Buenos Aires, 1943-1955. Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes.

Bähler, Luis Guillermo. 1950. La Nación argentina, justa, libre, soberana. Buenos Aires: Control de Estado de la Presidencia de la Nación.

Gutiérrez, Ramón. 2011. La habitación popular bonaerense 1943-1955: aprendiendo en la historia. Buenos Aires: CEDODAL.

Architectural Magazines from Argentina 1930s, 1940s, 1950s:
Sociedad Central de Arquitectos (Buenos Aires, Argentina), and Centro Estudiantes de Arquitectura (Buenos Aires, Argentina).
Revista de arquitectura. Buenos Aires: Sociedad Central de Arquitectos.
Nuestra arquitectura. Buenos Aires: Editorial Contempora S.R.L.

Caras y caretas. 1898. Buenos Aires: Caras y Caretas.

SPATIAL TRANSITION ANALYSIS:
Open street map
Data: streets for entire Metropolitan area
This was very useful since Buenos Aires Data only has data for the city of Buenos Aires. The limitation was that it is slightly out of phase.

Buenos Aires City Government Data

Data: streets, blocks, parcels, public greens.
There was no data of the buildings so I had to draw them using the aerial images found in the interactive map.

Mapa interactivo de Buenos Aires

Data: aerial photography 1940, 1965, 1978, 2009
These images were particularly useful to draw the buildings in the different times. The limitation was the quality and the impossibility of download them (it requires a “collage” work with print screen)

Works cited
Ballent, Anahi. 2005. Las Huellas de la política. Vivienda, ciudad, peronismo en Buenos Aires, 1943-1955. Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes.

Gutierrez, Ramón. 2011. La habitación popular bonaerense 1943-1955: aprendiendo en la historia. Buenos Aires: CEDODAL.