Kavanagh Building

Discover the story behind the art deco skyscraper that was once the tallest building in South America.

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The magnificent Kavanagh Building was the tallest building in Latin America when it was completed in 1936 and the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world. It was also one of the first buildings in the city to boast several modern luxuries for the time.

The 120m building, located overlooking one of the city's most elegant squares, is an architectural symbol of Buenos Aires and a striking example of the rationalist and art deco styles that were trends at the time of its construction.

Construction began in 1934 with the demolition of a group of houses that were annexed to the Hotel Plaza, which had opened in 1909. The building was designed and constructed by the engineer Rodolfo Cervini and prestigious local architects Sánchez, Lagos and De la Torre, at the request of wealthy Porteña Corina Kavanagh, after whom the passageway separating the building from the neighbouring hotel was named. Thanks to its stepped structure it was possible to incorporate terrace gardens. The luxurious interiors included a pool, laundry, centralized air conditioning, twelve elevators and a centralized telephone network - cutting-edge technology for the 1930s. It houses a total 105 apartments.

It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. 


Legend has it that the position of the building was chosen due to a desire for revenge by Corina Kavanagh against the powerful Anchorena family - one of the most important families in the city. Corina had falled in love with the son and heir of the aristocratic Anchorenas, but they dissapproved of the match because, while Corina was wealthy, she wasn't deemed to be of high enough birth. The Anchorenas lived in a palace on the Plaza San Martín and had built a church, the Basilica del Santísimo Sacramento, on the other side of the plaza. Corina, to take her revenge on the Anchorenas, asked the architects to ensure that her new skyscraper blocked any view of the church from the Anchorena's palace.