Eight human figures, Atlantean is calling, around the facade around the corner of Belgrano Avenue and Peru Street, from the second floor, the remaining eight-story building and the two domes on the terrace, one of the oldest in the historic center. Buenos Aires. They represent Workers engaged in construction: a mason, a carpenter, an electrician, a blacksmith, a painter, a blacksmith, a sculptor and a quantity surveyor; All of them are seen by four canters that look small from the street, but become colossal with a wingspan of more than two meters as the crafts pass through the scaffolding where restoration is carried out.
All figures are part The sculptural ensemble of the Otto Wolf Building It is in the last phase of its expansion. Its facade, today surrounded by pipes, stairs and metal plates, is covered with strips of black canvas, which will be removed next Tuesday to reveal the decoration. of Dark look Over 100 years of dirt accumulated by atmospheric effects, the stone-like mold resembles the original footprints.
Construction of the building began in 1912 and opened in 1914. There was work By Danish architect Morten Rono It was one of the few constructions carried out that year Intensive concreteA technique that began to be explored in Argentina due to a shortage of iron for structures. WolfA businessman of German descent, born in Hamburg, commissioned the work at a place called Lot. Old Wirrina’s houseIt was the residence of the widow of the eighth Viceroy of Río de la Plata. Joaquin Del Pino y Rosas.
Included in its restoration works Detailed plan of the historic center, plan with expansion From the polygon bounded by Hipolito Yrigoyen, Juan de Carre and Paseo Colón avenues and Daguari Street. The project is divided into three intervention areas and work is being carried out in various phases from 2020 onwards. In the case of privately owned Otto Wolff, the expansion is the responsibility of the city government, as is the rest of the work that makes up the project. .
“The building is constructed in concrete, that is, a concrete, emerges as an alternative, experimental, because this technique was developed by French construction companies, and soon the technology somehow arrived here,” it explains. The Undersecretary for Urban Landscape, Juan Vacas. “The structure is made of concrete and the walls are made of common brick, masonry, with a stone-like plastering system, which imitates a stone, and has all the decorative structures,” continues the official.
The same stone as this building, Offices are places of work And, on the ground floor of a branch of American coffee shops, the pink or yellow finish of that style was not, as is usually done, but black, thick with dirt and pollution, and the method, restoration, was difficult.
The chosen cleaning method must meet two conditions: be effective and not damage some pieces Landslide damage. A nebulizer was then used, with hundreds of nozzles constantly spraying water to loosen impurities; Then, with brushes and hands, restorers removed the remains. With more concentrated dirt, cellulose compresses or paper patches are used, wet and left to rest for several days. Final washing of the facade was carried out again with neutral soap, with brushes.
The building has essential details for its function and perspectives from the street. For example, the Atlanteans, five meters tall, from below they are seen with proportional measurements, but up close they show long legs, deformed feet, and disproportionate torsos and heads. The same goes for condors. “All these corrections have to do with the architect’s vision, for example, the trick of knowing how to build domes so that they can be seen from 25 blocks away,” Wagas says.
In one of the domes it is finished with the figure of a crown; in the other, that of the Sun. Legend has it that they were placed there in honor of the former Emperor of Austria. Francisco Jose and his wife Isabel de Bavira, called Sissy. Another urban legend states Imperial alliance between Austria and Hungary, although everything seems to lead to the fact that this is a purely decorative decision. They say from the city that the descendants of Wolf and Rono agreed that they had never heard such stories. In addition, the troops of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were in the already constructed building. The architect was Joseph Markovich.
Even on its facade Portraits of the first Chinese emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, owls, eyes of Horus, penguins, condors, toads, donkeys, cobras, snakes, crawling babies, jaguars, bees and honeycombs, dragonflies; All his figures have more 680 eyes on the facade. Wolff only owned the building for four years before selling the property to the Hardeneke family in 1918 and began traveling the world.
“We are nearing the completion of our ambitious renovation of the facade of one of the historic center’s most iconic buildings. We have spent months painstakingly, manually and meticulously restoring the facade to its original appearance, with the intention of maintaining its significance and heritage,” Minister of Public Space and Urban Health, Clara Muzzio.
All work was overseen, in one way or another, by Wolff and Rono, as the site owner’s nephew and Dane’s grandson and great-grandson, the architects, were part of the work. of the project. Overall yesand 1410 square meters intervened And the improvement includes removal of all non-original elements of the facade, restoration of coatings (painting and restoration of cracks or cracks), replacement of lost decorative elements, treatment and protection of the facade, repairs. Façade lighting through cracks in balconies and LED luminaires.
The entire historic district plan contemplates an intervention of 77,000 square meters of public space and more than 45 paved blocks, in which asphalt is replaced by cobblestones. In addition to Otto Wolf, there are seven prestigious facades: Farmacia La Estrella (completed), Mercado San Delmo (completed), Restaurant Aconcagua (Bolivar 905, in progress), Casa de Luca Brodon (Alsina 451, in progress. ), Casa del Historian ( Bolivar 462, in progress), Casa de Catalunya (Zagabuco 863, in progress) and Bar Pista Urbana (Zagabuco 874, in progress).
According to Museo, the recovery of an iconic site for tourists and residents means “a great responsibility and commitment” in the project, which, in addition to restoring the facades of historic buildings, “revalued the area, improved access, provided quality public space and improved the development of a city on a human scale.” “
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