The richness and complexity of some buildings makes it difficult to classify them. Sometimes this was due to the prolonged period of construction, with projects passing through the hands of several different architects who each added their personal touch. As a result, architectural eclecticism is very noticeable in Buenos Aires.
How should we classify the church Parroquia San Pedro González Telmo? Its construction lasted three centuries, which explains the combination of styles. The initial work was led by the jesuit José Blanqui, one of the architects behind the colonial Cabildo, until the jesuit order was expelled from Spanish territories in 1767 and the church was taken over by the Bethlemite order, who tended to injured British soldiers in the church during the British invasions of the early 19th century, hospitality for which colonel Dennis Pack gave them a clock.
To top off the eclectic blend of influences, in 1931 the facade of the building was completely renovated with a baroque style that differs greatly from the interior. Among the church's collection of paintings, you'll find gems from the Cuzco school, including the series on the Sibyls in the en la sacristy.
The Teatro Colón is recognised as one of the best opera houses in the world because of its phenomenal acoustics and stunning architecture. The foundation stone was laid in 1890 but work was interrupted by the death of the architect Francesco Tamburini. He was replaced by his trusted follower Víctor Meano, who added an Italian renaissance touch to Tamburini's sober project, along with influences from German and French architecture.
Work halted in 1894 and began again in 1904, this time under Belgian architect Jules Dormal because Meano had been murdered. Dormal was responsible for the heavy ornamentation in the vestibule, foyer, stairs and galleries. Highlights of the theatre's interior include the horseshoe-shaped auditorium, the French-style boxes and the gently inclining main floor.
The construction of Argentina's National Congress was first proposed by a draft law drawn up by then president Miguel Juárez Celman in 1889. Work began nine years later when the Sociedad Central de Arquitectos designated Víctor Meano as the winner of the competition to lead the project. Meano aimed to combine the French academic style with classical architecture, and one of his most daring decisions was the incorporation of the huge copper dome at a heigh of 80 metres. The interior of the building is organised into two perpendicular axes: that of the main entrance, and the other in the secundary entrances and the senate.
After an epidemic of yellow fever in 1871 which cost 14,000 lives, the British engineer John Bateman was commissioned to design a water and sewerage system. The Palacio de Aguas Corrientes, or "water palace" was built in what was then the most populated area of the city as a deposit with capacity for 72,700,000 litres of water. Spread over three levels and decorated in an academic style, the building contained 12 tanks and 180 columns as part of its structure. Since 1978, it's functioned as an administrative headquarters for the water company.
The current building of the Ministry of Agriculture, in the San Telmo neighbourhood, has similar characteristics. Original conceived as an asylum, the base of the building is neogothic - a style often employed for religious, health or charitable institutions - but the building also has Tudor, renaissance and neo-medieval details.
Curiously, it's not clear who the architect of this building was, but the work is attributed to Andrés Vanelli and sons. The building has a concrete base, cedar carpentry, and marble and iron staircases. Although constuction began in 1912, the use of the building for public administration began in 1938.