Manzana de las Luces and the Environment Proposal / ESTUDIO AISENSON + SMF

Courtesy of + SMF

ESTUDIO AISENSON + SMF shared with us their first prize winning proposal for the “National Contest of The Apple of the Lights and his Environment.” The construction of a set edilicio in the Apple of the Lights is one of the historical sites of major importance in . They believe that a look that shoud leave a contemporary stamp in the Apple of the Lights, which has been consolidated across diverse centuries of our history, cannot but to be based in recognizing the preexistences, the patrimonial value of the set and each of his parts and in formalizing the simultaneous need to join to the set and to be outlined as intervention. More images and architects’ description after the break.


Their offer for the new set edilicio that will shelter the needed program is concebida with an architectural, urban and historical look that:

- Forms a volumetry that completes the fabric, propitiating the continuity of the urban profile as a mass continues shaped.
- The idea Re-composes of masividad of the front on the street Peru, reinterpreting the pace of abundances and emptinesses of the adjoining fronts.
- Re-elaborates the idea of Court and Cloister as area that it shelters to the community with a contemporary, encouraging look of the public thing and with vocation of permanency.


- Makes possible a such accessibility that, without disturbing the activities to develop in the CNM and the CNP, offers a public area of quality that articulates accesses, auspicia activities and organizes tours.
- Offers to the city an architecture that, without being strident and in a respectful dialog with the diverse adjoining architectures, turns out to be unequivocally current and that on having recovered tipologías historical one presents, simultaneously like timelessly.
- Allows to structure the diverse functions with rationality and efficiency in two blocks which more massive or more cleared architecture corresponds with the most public and most private areas.
- Arranges the massive activities in ground floor and subsoil making possible a public intensive use of Court, exhibitions, SUM, cafeteria and audience.


- Locates the ENaM in the low floors with access for an exclusive stairs allowing that the private tasks should develop in a more peaceful space arranged in the top floors and about the Court and the street Peru.
- Drapes with a building of frivolous appearance the exposed front of the CNBA, giving transparency to the activity of the institutions dedicated to the guardianship of the cultural goods of the country.
- Organizes the public access, the private access, the cloister, the Court, as pedestrian continuity of the street Peru that joins this way to the pedestrian axis Florida Peru, the most ancient of Buenos Aires and penetrates without solution of continuity in the Apple of the Lights.
- Keeps the adjoining walls exposed with the Ex-attorney’s office and the Ex Casas Redituantes, not only in the requested and coincidental sector with the Court but along the totality of the new proposed set.


- Respects the totality of the wall, openings, vain, moldings and arches allowing his contemplation and historical valuation in the contrast with the constructed new thing.
- Proposes to the concrete as element of front towards the street and cloister, and the glass in the high floors lightening the mass towards the heart of the lot, as the materials that contribute austerity and contemporaneousness to the set, simultaneously that they guarantee perdurabilidad and easy reinstatement in the time.
- Intervenes in the environment of a minimal but significant way proposing the continuity of the solado as of integration element of the relevant parts of the site. This way, the paths and traffic street, materialized with the same texture, they act as a mantle that penetrates in the Apple of the Lights, diluting the limit between exterior and interior.
- Impregnates, by means of the constant exhibition strengthened by the tour and the lighting, to the existing site of an introspective character in order re to mean our history by means of an architectural contemporary fact.


These actions articulate in the Preliminary design for the Building Headquarters of the National Commission of Museums and of Monuments and Historical Places and Headquarters of the National Center of the Heritage and Areas of of Entail with Historical Existing Buildings that it will operate as backdrop and articulate of the buildings to preserving, and it will join harmoniously to the local conditions, emphasizing the dialog between architectures that, still corresponding to different historical moments, they send to urban situations, typologíes, constructions and preexisting scales in the City of Buenos Aires.


Both blocks that compose the set arrange on the Court and are articulated across the cloister generated by accesses and galleries. The fronts of both blocks are formalized by a more massive and dense architecture up to the height of the historical adjoining buildings generating of such a way a game of transparencies and concealments that he composes in a dialogue with the preexistences and regulates the accesses and visual pedestrian. The highest block, which drapes the dividing one of the CNBA, gets up frivolously and transparent becoming detached from the visual “enrase” of about 11m. This “enrase” contains in turn a Ground floor of some 4.00M of vertical clearance that shelters the most public and massive activities: Exhibitions, Lounge of Multiple Uses, Cafeteria, Audience and Foyer (in Subsoil), Find of Access and Court.


In the block on Peru one arranges the program of the CNM in two high floors in a more private area, illuminated good and with a circulatory exclusive core. In the block on the dividing one of the CNBA the ENaM is located in two high floors to which one accedes for the circulatory core and for an exclusive given stairs the possible simultaneity of use of the classrooms. In the top floors, from third party to I conscript, the program of the diverse institutions to being lodged has developed towards the court being supplied by the core and service areas and warehouses that shape a bar on the dividing one. Special care has been had, in all the cases, neither of structural elements nor mechanics rested on the same one.

site plan

The Court is defined by a cloister that is formed by two galleries corresponding to both blocks and two lateral galleries that are continued towards the accesses and accompany both blocks allowing the visual one and spatial integration of the historical walls in all his development. These lateral galleries, with principal access and of service controlled on Peru they act as the links that allow that the Ground floor of the set should be a spatial extension of the urban space that will shelter both the daily activities and eventual massive and punctual uses.

ground floor plan

An interior and exterior court connects both subsoils linking spatially the foyer with the hall and illuminating the areas of maintenance.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Manzana de las Luces and the Environment Proposal / ESTUDIO AISENSON + SMF" 22 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Sep 2014. <>


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