What prompted your focus on these sites? Did you travel specifically to visit/document these projects, or was this an incidental part of a larger trip?
While taking Professor Fernando Laraâ€™s 20th Century Latin America Architecture course I became interested in Uruguayâ€™s architecture, especially Eladio Diesteâ€™s vaulted buildings. But perhaps more important for my own research interests is the fact that this country, despite being one of the smallest in Latin America, is known for its progressive policies. I wanted to analyze the role that urban planning has in a country with a very strong democratic and progressive tradition. Therefore, I traveled to Montevideo which represents 50% of Uruguayâ€™s population in order to document its public spaces as a proxy to capture its political and social environment.
Any general thoughts about the places highlighted in the photos? What do you like about these subjects? What draws you to study these built environments?
The thing that stuck with me the most was the fact that in Montevideo there are very few glass buildings; I am referring to a lack of buildings in the style that started to sprout in cities around 1980. It felt to me as if the city's urban fabric was stuck in time. There is rarely a sign that Montevideo was affected by postmodern architecture. Most of the buildings I photographed are either Modern or Neo-Classical. Thus, despite being politically progressive, Uruguay is architectonically very traditional.
Is there a specific project you found most interesting?
Eladio Diesteâ€™s churches are perhaps the most interesting projects I photographed not only because of the organic shapes of the buildings and Diesteâ€™s mastery of the brick but also because they are indicative of Uruguayâ€™s cultural values. I visited the Cristo Obrero church in AtlÃ¡ntida on a Saturday, since churches tend to be open to the public on weekends. To my surprise, after a rather long trip to AtlÃ¡ntida, the doors of the church were locked, which is why I do not have interior photos of this building. When I visited Diesteâ€™s renovation of the San Pedro church in Durazno I found that it was empty. I got there around 9 am and revisited it around 5 pm and in both cases no one was praying. That made me bold enough to take photos from the altar, something I would never be able to do in a Mexican or Colombian church. In other words there seems to be a stark contradiction between Diesteâ€™s awe-inspiring religious architecture and Uruguayâ€™s secular tradition.