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Ex Banco de Londres

Federico Cairoli

A touch of refined brutalism in the heart of Buenos Aires.


While you walk in the city center of Buenos Aires, in the area around the Plaza de Mayo where part of the business district is located, you might find a building quite different from the others, but nonetheless similar in terms of volumes and proportions. It’s the Ex Banco de Londres, designed by Clorindo Testa and SEPRA (Santiago Sánchez Elía, Federico Peralta Ramos and Alfredo Agostini), the outcome of a restricted architectural competition in 1959. In this short film, Federico Cairoli with his camera captures some impressions about this building, which is a renowned masterpiece of contemporary architecture in Buenos Aires, and unveils how it stands in the urban fabric.

The facade is a plastic element, well balanced in its design with counterpoints between solid and void; here the usual heavy appearance of a concrete structure is subdued by letting the curtain wall appear right in the corner of the building. Behind the concrete pierced structure, the glass facade maintains the continuity between exterior and interior. From the inside, the city can still be perceived and the building is conceived as an extension of the public space, as a public indoor piazza. Right as it happens in a public space, interiors are continuous and open as the short film shows by meandering through the central stairs and the open distribution balconies. The Banque of Londres is a touch of refined brutalism in the heart of Buenos Aires.

Authors icon Credits

Architect: Clorindo Testa and SEPRA (Santiago Sánchez Elía, Federico Peralta Ramos and Alfredo Agostini)
Mentioned project: Ex Banco de Londres y América del Sur (1960-1966), today Banco Hipotecario
Project location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina 2014
Duration: 4'20''