Corrugated City

Wednesday 26 December 2007

Lots more Art Nouveau in Valparaiso including El Palacio Barburizza

A couple of weeks ago i posted about Art Nouveau in Valparaiso and mentioned that there's not a great deal of it here...well looking through my photo archives, i noticed a few more buildings i had taken pictures of... I'm not much of an expert on Art Nouveau (i just really like the more outrageous examples) so there's probably more here than i realise (as Santiago kindly pointed out in the last post, even reminding me that the monster Palacio Barburizza is a pretty prominent example). In fact, after studying my book on Art Nouveau in Buenos Aires, i might have been completely wrong altogether-most of Valparaiso's downtown architecture was built after the 1906 earthquake, right in the era of the Art Nouveau boom in South America. It may not all be the most ornate Art Nouveau but i reckon almost all of downtown Valparaiso shows at least signs of the style. So i was wrong. Remember this post because i don't admit to that very often :) Maybe Señor Art Nouveau can let me know if i'm on the right track...

Anyway, enjoy the photos. Some of them you'll have seen before if you're a long term reader of this blog.

Down on Avenida Pedro Montt

Plaza Bellavista

Naval Hospital up in Playa Ancha

Just around the corner from me on Cerro Concepcion

The fountain in Plaza Victoria

Police HQ on Avenida Brasil

The Stock Exchange

El Mercurio looks a good bet...

One of Harrington's

The ironworks on another of Harrington's

And now on to the spectacularly odd Palacio Barburizza, built in 1916 and bought by Pascual Bariburriza, a nitrate magnate, in 1925. it was built by two Italian architects, Barison y Schiavon, who also designed and built the Santiago Severin Library in Plaza Victoria. The local council bought in the early 1970s to house the fine arts museum. That closed in 1997 and the muppet council has, year in year out, promised to fund the renovations required in the interior of the property in order to re-open the museum. That is now further from reality than ever, given that the entire property is riddled with termites (according to the guy who fumigated our house and the caretaker, with whom i've chatted a few times). In the next big earthquake, there's a good chance it'll fall down. My view is that the property should be donated to a private company or individual with the specific terms that the new owner must restore and improve the property. It could then be run as a pretty spectacular hotel or museum. At least it'd be standing in 20 years time.


Anonymous said...

wow! The Barburizza roof has been painted (?) blue - I thought Google Earth had gone nuts on me! Barburriza was 'closed for repairs' when I went there 9 years ago! So I guess I'm just going to have to miss out on seeing the interior yet again...first the Teatro Colon - now this! :)

I was reviewing some old happy snaps I took on my last visit to Chile after reading your original Art Nouveau entry because I specifically remembered taking some photos of a wonderful Art Nouveau building one block to the north of the Palacio Lyon on the same side of the road of which the name escapes me - is it Condell? some really ornate 'nudie' mouldings in the plaster work - fabulous!

...I might be wrong but I think the Bolsa de Comercio and the El Mercurio buildings might be Victorian...


Matt said...

maybe it's your computer screen...the roof is a green...kind of turquoisey green but definitely not blue...!

I'll check out the building you mention next time i'm in the area... i think i know the one you mean.

The Mercurio and stock exchange...not sure...they look really similar to some art nouveau buildings in BA...

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt - So now I'm Mr. Art Nouveau? That will look great on my CV.

Basically you're about half & half with the photos you posted. I don't know about Chile specifically but AN was in Argentina from about 1900 to 1920, later than the rest of the world. Probably the same in Chile. Lots of bldgs were built then that weren't full-on Art Nouveau but did incorporate elements of AN design. Just look for organic shapes, elements of nature, busty naked statues of women & the like.

So the Naval Hospital would be Neoclassical, police HQ is a Beaux Arts-Italianate mix (much of what's in BA is this), the Bolsa is definitely Beaux Arts, & El Mercurio is an odd mishmash of all that. You certainly wouldn't call it an AN building though.

Anyhoo... I can send you some sloppy text I wrote as an intro to my own AN BsAs book. Just needs a little work & a publisher :)

Matt said...

Hey thanks robert...i think i'll just go back to calling the buildings 'pretty'...much more chance of getting it right... :)

Anonymous said...


I'm primary colours sort of guy (turqouise, cyan, magenta or mauve don't register with me!)....and it goes to show that I have a limited knowledge of architectural styles as well so I too will revert to my two favorite catergories: 'pretty building' and 'ugly building'...