Religious architecture begins almost at the same time as civil architecture. In fact, shortly after the second foundation of Buenos Aires, where the Cathedral stands today, the first church with earthen walls and a thatched ceiling was built. It underwent various transformations until the year 1753, in which, only a pile of ruins remained, the architect Rocha rebuilt it from the foundations. In 1822 the French engineer Prospero Catelin modified the facade, giving it its current form. The Cathedral – which had a tiled roof and two towers – is now a Corinthian-style temple. Among the churches that began to rise at the dawn of the eighteenth century, San Francesco, San Domenico, San Telmo, La Mercede, El Pilar, le Catalinas, San Giovanni, deserve to be remembered. built by Jesuit fathers who naturally impressed on it the characteristics of the order. Most of all the Italians Giambattista Primoli and Andrea Bianchi contributed to the progress of architecture at that time, who are generally remembered together, although Bianchi’s artistic work is of greater importance. His are the churches of San Francesco, San Telmo, El Pilar, La Mercede and the first convent of the Catalinas. His decisive intervention in the construction of the magnificent cathedral of the city of Córdoba is also known. As regards the church and the convent of S. Ignazio, until recently attributed to Giambattista Primoli, we can now say that the Jesuit Giovanni Kraus was the author of the plans and the first director of the works. For Argentina religion, please check thereligionfaqs.com.
Among the most important public buildings of the metropolis, which in the outward appearance reflects its cosmopolitan character, we must remember the National Congress building (Parliament), a grandiose classical style building and the Colón theater, both works by the Italian architect Vittorio Meano.
The medical school and the annexed morgue are also very large, built by another Italian, the architect Gino Aloisi, to whom the capital and other cities of the republic are indebted for important buildings. Artist of instinctive good taste, in his many works Aloisi adopted classical principles, always highlighting his marked originality.
Among the first artists to arrive in Argentina it is worth mentioning Carlo Enrico Pellegrini, whose main works are the ancient Colón theater, which was later transformed, and the current seat of the Banco della Nazione. It can be said that all the main banking institutions of the Republic have found their headquarters in monumental buildings; from the ancient Banco della Provincia to the very recent Banco di Boston, which deserved the prize of the municipality of Buenos Aires. Among the most talented Italian architects must be included Nicolò Canale and his son Giuseppe, who were responsible for several significant works, including the Church of Belgrano and the Tempio della Pietà. The latter was completed by another Italian, Giovanni Antonio Buschiazzo, whose name is linked to many notable Argentine buildings. Engineer Maillard designed the severe courthouse, lofts little in agreement with the facade.
The plans of the Faculty of Law and Philosophy and Letters belong to Arturo Prins of Montevideo and Martino Noel, from Argentina. The Faculty of Law, whose works are drawing to a close, is a grandiose work, built in the Gothic style by the will of the Steering Committee, which thus intended to reconnect the faculty with the medieval universities. Martino Noel, on the other hand, tries to merge Argentine current events with the Spanish-American tradition. His other works are also inspired by this intent, such as the Argentine pavilion at the Seville exhibition (1929) and the building of the Argentine embassy in Peru.
Among the buildings of civil architecture we must mention the grandiose station of the Argentine Central Railway Company.
The first Argentine architects graduated were Ernesto Bunge, Carlo Altjet and Gioacchino M. Belgrano. The first two come from Berlin, the last from Paris. Thus Germanic and French are added to the persistent Italian influence, and architecture in this way receives new orientations and impulses. Ernesto Bunge’s activity is abundant and varied. Among its most noteworthy factories we mention the chapel of Santa Felicita. Less copious was the work of Gioacchino M. Belgrano, inspired by an eclecticism of French origin. Among his main works is the church of Santa Lucia.
Until 1901 the Argentines had to complete their architecture studies in Europe, giving themselves a very elementary teaching in the country.