Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

I stumbled upon this picture yesterday and it hit me pretty hard.

It's an abandoned matadero (i.e. "slaughterhouse" in Spanish) of Azul, Argentina, designed by Francisco Salamone (1897-1959) - an Argentine architect of Italian descent who, between 1936 and 1940, built more than 60 municipal buildings with elements of Art Deco style in 25 rural communities on the Argentine Pampas within the Buenos Aires Province. These buildings were some of the first examples of modern architecture in rural Argentina.
According to Alberto Belucci, Salamone was born in 1897 in Buenos Aires, one of four sons of an architect from Sicily. After leaving the Otto Krause Technical School in Buenos Aires he continued his studies in the National University of Córdoba where he graduated in 1917 with a degree in architecture and civil engineeing.
Salamone became a good friend of Dr. Manuel A. Fresco, a conservative politician who was governor of the Province of Buenos Aires during the period 1936-1940. During Fresco's term of office a large number of new municipal buildings were built and the roads, irrigation and communications networks in the province were largely improved. Although many of the new buildings were of little aesthetic value, those that Fresco commissioned Salamone were a notable and very personal combination of Art Deco, authoritarianism, functionalism, Italian Futurism and propaganda on a vast scale. The use of reinforced concrete made it possible to construct buildings to a height that at that time made them symbols of municipal power and authority.
The rural towns in which Salamone's buildings were placed 500 km or more from Buenos Aires city, and were either frontier towns, built at the end of the 19th century on the edge of Indian territory, or were situated at regular intervals along newly-built rail links. These towns were named after the colonels and generals who led the Conquest of the Desert and engineers who pioneered the building of the railways in this part of the Province.

matadero salliquelóWhen Fresco's term as Provincial governor came to an end in 1940, Salamone and his family moved back to Buenos Aires, were he designed just two more buildings in Rationalist style. He died on 8 August 1959, relatively forgotten, but leaving behind him a monumental architectural inheritance on the Argentine pampas.
Salamone's work comprised three types of municipal buildings:

  • Town Halls: these are characterised by their massive proportions and high tower, taller than the local church tower, to symbolise the advance of civilisation over the Pampas and recalled both the medieval palazzi comunali and the designs of Benito Mussolini's Italy. These buildings were clearly intended to be the centre of urban life. Examples are to be found in Carlos Pellegrini, Alberti, Carhué, Guamini, Adolfo Alsina, Laprida, Rauch, Balcarce, Tornquist, Puán, Chillar, Saldungaray, Gonzales Chaves and Coronel Pringles
  • Cemetery Portals: these were also characterised by their massive proportions. Examples can be found in Saldungaray, Laprida, Azul, Salliqueló and Balcarce.
  • Slaughterhouses: these are functional in design, on the outskirts of towns, and have become obsolete with the introduction of modern butchery techniques and the advent of cold-storage plants. Examples can be found in Tres Lomas, Balcarce, Carhué, Guaminí, Coronel Pringles, Azul, Laprida, Vedia, Salliqueló, Chillar and Carlos Pelegrini.

Info: Wikipedia

Images: Animal Plamet, suripatagonia, dvk!, @ Flickr Francisco Salamone Group

Recommended: Francisco Salamone blog

Website in Spanish

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Comment by lord_k on January 3, 2011 at 5:16pm

Happy New Year to you Stefan.

Browse the Flickr Group pages - I'm sure you'll find some inspiration for your future artwork.

Comment by Stefan on January 3, 2011 at 5:01pm

Thank you so much Lord K, again and again, for sharing with us those forgotten wonders. Those buildings are incredible.

I wholeheartedly wish you a very Happy New Year !


Comment by lord_k on December 30, 2010 at 9:28am
Of course I know the novel, read it at least twice. I just think it doesn't belong to Dieselpunk.
Comment by Larry on December 30, 2010 at 9:23am
The author of the classic novel "Slaughterhouse Five." Which is why I made the connection.
Comment by lord_k on December 30, 2010 at 12:13am
Mr. Vonnegut is out of my range. I don't think he belongs here.
Comment by Larry on December 29, 2010 at 10:24pm

Fascinating images. I have to admit that when I read the title to this thread I thought it was going to concern Kurt Vonnegut.

Comment by lord_k on December 29, 2010 at 3:09pm

To Tome:

for Argentina, one of the largest beef exporters, slaughterhouses were probably more important than religion.

Comment by Tome Wilson on December 29, 2010 at 2:49pm

I can understand town centers, but slaughterhouses? 

Were they really that important at the time to be equal with government and religion?

Comment by lord_k on December 29, 2010 at 11:11am
It's real Gernsback Continuum scenery.
Comment by Caerulctor on December 29, 2010 at 11:05am
That's fascinating -- you've got this soaring image of the future, yet rooted -- indeed mired -- in a grimy, gritty, sordid, indeed bloody reality (that sounds like a summary of the late '30s, doesn't it?), worn by time until it becomes almost a caricature of itself, yet still retaining a trace of its intended grandeur.

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