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Buenos Aires Hotel

When visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina it is hard to miss driving through the widest street in the world, “Avenida Nuevo de Julio”. The 360-foot (110 m) wide avenue commemorates Argentinean independence gained on July, 9th 1816. A nearby bustling intersection surrounds the famous obelisk built in 1937 to mark that glorious event. Another majestic structure completes our story; the neighboring “Teatro Colon” built in 1857 and then renovated and re-opened with Verdi’s “Aida” in 1908. The theater houses one of the grandest interior public spaces in this city.

In 1979 and across from this intersection, rich with history, the first Panamericano tower “Torre Sur” was erected. The then new Panamericano was an immediate success, Tomo Uno, an elegant modern Italian restaurant opened its doors on the second floor. Fifteen years later, the hotel owners acquired a 24-storey concrete skeleton on the adjacent lot which was intended for residential use and was now to become the second hotel tower ‘Torre Norte”.

By adding 220 guest rooms, the owners devised a program tailored to meet the growing demand for business-friendly hotels. A glorious Ballroom was planned in addition to several large meeting rooms, business centers and pre-function spaces. Food service was to be made available throughout the hotel’s bars, lounges and decks. An English Pub with its cozy billiards room was to be included. An Asian spa, a gym with a view, and a swimming pool with Jacuzzi were to be on top of the building. One does not need to venture far in order to find the context of our project.

The neoclassical references present in the teatro colon tell a big part of the story. The history of Spanish and British influence in a vast country rich with natural resources tells another. The generous men and women of this nation are proud of their glorious past, yet they anxiously look forward to a dazzling future. Koder fully understood those givens to be the natural context for this project. However, the challenge remained on how to transform a residential building with no suitable public spaces into a five star hotel with a swimming pool on top; and on how to wrap the existing skeleton with a skin modern enough to blend with the streetscape yet not to overpower the “Torre Sur”.

On the interior, the concept to capture public space was achieved through carving a four storey atrium out of the guts of “Torre Norte”. The rear of both lots was emptied to make space for the 7,000 sq ft (650 sq m) Gran Salon Panamericano. Structural reinforcements were added to the top of the “Torre Norte” where the 22’x40’ (6.7m x 12.1 m) swimming pool was to be installed. A bridge was originally planned to link the towers in midflight was postponed.

The first task at hand was to unite the two towers. Koder designed a 40 feet (12 m) high and a 160 feet (48 m) long “Marquisina” – a colonnade and a porte cochere with decorative bronze columns and paneling along the street level. The structure acts as a base for the two towers.

Koder added several balconies to the “Torre Norte” to align with the existing balconies on “Torre Sur”. “Torre Norte” rose above the last balcony to include the suites floors. The Spa and the pool above were covered with a glass clad structure maximizing the views of the city. A wrap around upper deck with teak trim provided an exterior
sun bathing area. Both towers were painted the same color. The curtain wall on “Torre Norte” was articulated as a vertical element.