plaza de mayo

Plaza de Mayo
First Prize Competition.

Architects:Ignacio Montaldo, Silvia Colombo, Roberto Szraiber.
Collaborators:Lukas Gerber, Maria Sol Imaz, Gabriela Gotusso.
Lighting Consultant: Veronica La Cruz.
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Year: 2006
Area: 18.000m2



“History does not make us its hostages but rather, encourages us to assume, at any moment, a condition of absolute up-to-dateness” Aires Mateus.

Plaza de Mayo is a civic stage, where every event in Argentine history has been somehow engraved in its floors.
How can we take part in the civic space par excellence in the city, the symbolic location of collective memory?
How can we avoid the temptation to combine and/or design certain amount of urban elements? Our proposal is to create a design, where the formal deed is the result a posteriori, to seek the mechanics to create sense within the very project in order to define and support its development. As a result of this search, we shaped a continuous flooring and created a flexible and versatile space, which can accommodate future events.
In turn, we propose a reconstruction of different designs, which simplify the celebration of patrimonial stages, by means of virtual reconstruction. During the day, the different and overlapping layers of history mingle, overlay and contain each other, creating a new, updated and abstract flooring. At night, a simple L.E.D. lighting system allows the sequence reconstruction of the different designs the square had throughout the years.

The intervention in regard to vehicle traffic in the square, is part of the general pedestrianization plan of the downtown area. The pedestrianization has been requested for Balcarce St. as well as a reduction from five to two lanes for Rivadavia, Bolivar and Hipólito Yrigoyen Streets. From their beginning, they will be open only to pedestrians on weekends and holidays.

The fountains, The Pyramid of May, Belgrano Monument and the Shawl of the Mothers, will be revalued, working from the design of their protection elements, as they require, and the specific lighting of such elements. Our proposal is to keep the existing memorial plates in place, since, in general, they mark events that took place in specific spots of the square. To do this, we will place them in a sunken, glass-protected floor.

We propose to keep the existing city trees, with an option to add some specimens in front of the “recova” on Hipolito Yrigoyen St. The trees will be accentuated at night by lighting.

We accommodate benches under the shade of the existing plantains and around the fountains. They will be granite precast with a rough finish. In front of the “recova”, on Hipólito Yrigoyen St., we suggest a space with tables and sunshades to be used as a cafe.