Kavanagh Building

An imposing art deco skyscraper that tells a tale of love and revenge.



The exquisite, imposing Kavanagh Building was at the time of its construction (1936) the tallest skyscraper in Latin America and the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world. The building is a striking exponent of architectural rationalism within the modernist and art deco trends of the time, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. But the building also tells a story of forebidden love and subsequent revenge.

The Kavanagh was designed and constructed by prestigious local architects Sánchez, Lagos and De la Torre, at the request of wealthy porteña Corina Kavanagh. The luxurious infrastructure and interiors included centralized air conditioning, twelve elevators and a centralized telephone network - cutting-edge technology for the 1930s.

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 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.