There are some outstanding Uruguayan architects present in the world right now. It is humbling to think of their beginnings—which buildings in their home country moved them and which ones will encourage the next generations. Read our list featuring 12 of the most significant architectonic landmarks in Uruguay, and be inspired to travel and see them yourself.
Casapueblo – Carlos Páez Vilaró
Carlos Páez Vilaró is one of Uruguay’s most successful and prominent visual artists. He designed Casapueblo to be his workshop, and later on donated it, along with a big portion of his work, to become a museum. The building is erected on top of tall cliffs facing the Atlantic Ocean, providing visitors with majestic views. Casapueblo is very beautiful and uniquely shaped. The inspiration for its design was the rufous hornero birds’ nests, which resemble clay ovens.
Parish of Cristo Obrero – Eladio Dieste
This peculiar church is located in the coastal city of Atlantida, a popular resort destination in the summer because of its proximity to Montevideo. Dieste, a renowned Uruguayan architect, based most of his designs in the style of rationalism and constructivism, featuring a lot of brick work. This church is a fine example of Dieste’s distinctive work, of innovative architectonic thinking in Uruguay, and at the same time it still is in accord to its surroundings.
Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral – Tomas Toribio, Bernardo Poncini
This was Montevideo’s first catholic temple, and is a National Heritage Monument. It is located in Ciudad Vieja, the Old City district, in front of Plaza Matriz, one of the city’s most famous squares. Its origins date back to the colonial period; the first building for this church was constructed around the 1740s. It was then replaced with the building that still stands today, in a Neoclassical style. It is beautiful and well worth a look inside.
Alfredo Vázquez Acevedo Institute – Alfredo Jones Brown
This building was constructed in 1911 as a public secondary school, and now still functions as one, as well as being a National Heritage Monument. It was built facing the opposite way as the University of the Republic, so that theoretically they wouldn’t compete against each other. It has two backyards, a basement, two storys and an observatory. All rooms have windows overlooking the backyards. The roof of this building is iconic and easily recognizable, presenting a colorful geometric design made with ceramic tiles.
Santuario Nacional del Cerrito de la Victoria – Elzeario Boix, Horacio Terra Arocena, Ernesto Vespignani
This church is a catholic temple, erected on the top of a hill in the neighborhood Cerrito (“little hill”) in Montevideo. It was declared a National Heritage Monument in 1975, and is currently in the middle of a restoration process. It was constructed in 1926 in the style of Byzantine Revival architecture, which incorporates elements of the Byzantine style from the 5th to 11th centuries, associated with the Eastern and Orthodox Christianity of Constantinople and Eastern Rome.
Susana Soca Chapel – Antoine Bonet
This is considered an architectonical treasure. It is built in concrete and colored glass, which are combined in triangular shapes of different sizes across the ceiling and walls. This creates an incredible spectacle of lights, combining the use of architecture and stained glass in an incredibly modern way. A somber, mysterious atmosphere is created inside, with various elements of symbolism, most notably the three sides of the triangles to represent the Holy Trinity.
Carrasco International Airport – Rafael Viñoly
This is Uruguay’s main international airport, and is located on the outskirts of Montevideo. It is now undergoing a process to become fully self-sufficient with its own renewable energy. The project started construction in 2003 and finished in 2009. It is now seen as a contemporary landmark in terms of the space and building in itself, and as a symbol for Uruguay in terms of investment, architecture, quality, innovation and technology. The design features a big ceiling, great transparency, an optimization of natural light and very ample spaces. There are two independent levels connected by inside escalators, one for arrivals and another for departures, and a viewing deck.
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