day 72_Buenos Aires_demolition


During my walks through the city, I noticed several places where old buildings were torn down and the gaping voids were waiting for a new building to complete the street façade. I’m not sure why these forlorn places caught my attention, obviously this occurrence is not unique to Buenos Aires; it happens in almost any city in the world. But here, since most of the buildings are party-wall construction, one could clearly see traces of the room subdivisions and interior decoration of the demolished houses. A peculiar scene, as if the building was still there, but not there. It is unlike in Tokyo, for example, where each building is separate from its neighbors, and therefore no trace remains after it is gone.

Some of the walls I saw had highly decorated surfaces - moldings framing the perimeters of the non-existent rooms, wallpaper, etc. It made me thing about time and life of buildings. How do we decide what stays preserved? What should get demolished and replaced? How do we put a value on a building? Is it its age? Is it its historical relevance? Is it its present ‘usefulness’? Or is it that sometimes, when everything around gets ‘uplift’, the building simply does not fit into its surroundings and must go?