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.
When 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:
Recommended: Francisco Salamone blog