The Kavanagh Building is a famous skyscraper in Buenos Aires, Argentina, designed in 1934 by architects Gregorio Sánchez, Ernesto Lagos, and Luis María de la Torre. It is considered a pinnacle of modernist architecture. At its inauguration in 1936, the Kavanagh was the tallest building in Latin America, surpassing the Palacio Salvo built in Montevideo in 1928 and the tallest building in the world with a reinforced concrete structure.
Kavanagh Building Technical Information
- Architects1: Sanchez, Lagos & De La Torre Studio
- Location: 1065 Florida St., Retiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Topics: Art Deco, Skyscrapers
- Construction Company: Rodolfo Cervini S.A.
- Area: 25,800 m2
- Height: 120.35m | 395′
- Floors: 32
- Project Year: 1935
- Photographs: © Archeyes, © Marcos Prack
The Kavanagh Building, 31 stories high and complete with central air conditioning and advanced technology, was one of the first reinforced concrete skyscrapers in the world when it opened.
Kavanagh Building Photographs
The Kavanagh skyscraper is considered one of the quintessential buildings of Buenos Aires. It was declared a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1994 and a National Historic Monument of Argentina in 1999.
Built during the 1930s, when Argentina’s economy was the tenth strongest in the world, the Kavanagh Building was one of the world’s first reinforced concrete skyscrapers. For many years, it remained the tallest building in South America.
The building was commissioned by Corina Kavanagh, an heir to 39 years who dreamed of building a luxurious tower to be the first skyscraper in Buenos Aires: the contemporary construction of the Rockefeller Center in New York. Its construction took only 14 months, and to do so, the Irish millionaire sold two ranches at the age of 39 to erect the skyscraper.
The building has a towering form, with symmetrical setbacks and gradual surface reductions. It was created from the outside in, adapting outstandingly comfortable facilities to the space available. The structure was carefully designed to be as slender as possible in order to avoid unnecessary weight and influenced by the city planning regulations. The design combines Modernism and Art Deco with a Rationalist approach and is considered the apex of early Modernism in Argentina.
The building is an Art Deco «Skyscraper» characterized by the austerity of its lines, the lack of external ornamentation, and large prismatic volumes. Standing at the height of 120 meters (395′), it still retains its impact against the city’s modern skyline. In 1939 its facade received an award from the American Institute of Architects.
Fully equipped with central air conditioning, 12 Otis elevators, and state-of-the-art plumbing, the structure was carefully designed to be as slender as possible to avoid unnecessary weight.
Kavanagh Building Plans
Kavanagh Building Image Gallery
About Sanchez, Lagos y de la Torre
Sánchez, Lagos y de la Torre was one of Argentina’s most influential architecture studios in the first half of the 20th century. It stood out within the rationalist and modernism trends of the time.
It was formed in the 1920s by the engineer Gregorio Sánchez and the architects Ernesto Lagos and Luis María de la Torre Campos. Although his first works conformed to the academic aesthetic that had been in full swing in Buenos Aires since the end of the 19th century, they quickly advanced towards new currents such as art deco, leading to the ornamental sobriety of rationalism.
Works from Sanchez, Lagos y de La Torre
- Architects: Lagos y De la Torre Estudio Sánchez – Gregorio Sánchez, Ernesto Lagos, Luis María De la Torre