At the end of the 30’s the architect Francisco Salamone transformed the pampas region of Buenos Aires with a multitude of municipal buildings. He mainly designed slaughterhouses, cemetery portals, and town halls, all in an extremely monumental art deco style that reinforced the authoritarian and fascist wishes of the mayor, Manuel A. Fresco. All of the buildings are strange and futuristic for the landscape; large blocks of concrete among flat open fields of small towns.
The Azul cemetery portal in particular is very striking. Salamone built other portals in Saldungaray, Laprida, Salliqueló, and Balcarce, but this one is the most recognized due to the fierce angel that guards the entrance in front of the large looming letters “RIP.” On each side of the portal are small platforms supporting flames that are so geometrical that they look like claws. Salamone made the portal so monumental in order to reinforce the distance between the cities of the dead and living, forcing the visitor to think more about their transition between the spaces.
Note the motorcycles from the biking meet up chilling in front of the portal. They are in their element.
Thanks Milagros for joining me on the the spontaneous weekend trip to Azul. Jamon Queso sandwiches, Jessie “our children will suffer,” motorcycle parades, and naps in the park… I don’t often have travel partners this year, but it was such a joy to have someone join me on this mini-trip.