BUENOS AIRES — A new map of the Argentine capital shows 50 Art Nouveau buildings, a style of art and architecture popular from 1890 to 1910, putting the city at the forefront of early 20th century architecture.

Some are impressive at first glance, like the Casal de Cataluña in the heart of the San Telmo district, or the House of Peacocks by architect Virginio Colombo, in Balvanera 

Photo: jcuixart via Instagram

Another hallmark is the Casa de los Lirios on the Avenida Rivadavia, so close in style to houses designed by Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona. 

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Photo: ArquiViajes via Twitter

Some of these architectural treasures are in decline and in need of urgent repairs, among them El Molino, the former pastry shop opposite the parliament buildings. 

Hebergeur d'image Photos: jplpagan via Flickr / puroticorico via Flickr / Liam Quinn via Flickr / eli_try via Instagram / Worldcrunch

All of these landmarks, and more, help to position Buenos Aires as the city with the foremost Art Nouveau treasury in the Americas. Each of these places is adorned with exquisite artistry both inside and outside, and a non-profit group has decided to put them on the map, quite literally. 

The Buenos Aires Art Nouveau Association (AANBA) has created five sight-seeing routes in five districts — San Telmo, Recoleta, Congreso, Balvanera and Centro — and the map of the routes is available free in hotels, shops and other information points. 

Other highlights on the routes include the Barolo building and mall, an architectural homage to Dante’s Inferno, which is dotted with Hindu motifs and mystical references. 

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Palacio Barolo. Photos: Phillip Capper via CC / Gustav’s via Flickr / adrianfidalgo via Instagram / Worldcrunch

Then there’s the Otto Wulff building, a former embassy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 


Photo: HalloweenHJB via CC

The map aims to explain the buildings’ histories, purpose and usage, but also to remind the public that they must be valued and preserved as “a cultural good that belongs to all,” says Willy Pastrana, AANBA president. The organization wants Buenos Aires to be declared the Latin American capital of Art Nouveau. 

Partial reproduction of Recoleta Tour via AANBA Facebook page

“Buenos Aires was at the vanguard of architecture” at the time, says one of the city’s leading architects Luis Grossman, so “it is a valid proposal.”