Uruguay Architecture (1660-1815)

By | December 20, 2021

The Spanish domination (1660-1815) in Uruguay did not leave many architectural monuments because Montevideo, San Carlos and Maldonado were just beginning to have any importance when the country gained independence. The Jesuits had founded numerous missions to evangelize the Indians and none of them lacked its chapel, as shown by the fairly well-preserved ruins of the chapels “de las Huérfanas” in the department of Cologne and the hamlet of Farruco in that of Durazno. The parish church of Soriano at that time was the chapel of the Franciscan mission founded in 1624.

In Montevideo the church, which later became a cathedral, was begun in 1790 on projects prepared by the military engineer Custodio de Sáa y Faría: completed only in 1861, it has a totally neoclassical character. Even the “Cabildo”, the ancient municipal seat, built in the early nineteenth century, has a classical or rather “neo-Herrerian” appearance. For Uruguay 2002, please check commit4fitness.com.

Among the few architectural works, outside the capital, built during the Spanish domination, the most important are the churches of San Carlos and Maldonado. The first, apparently erected in 1801, is a solid and heavy construction, with a barrel vault, and supported by large walls supported by immense buttresses. The Maldonado church, begun in the last years of the century. XVIII, but completed only around 1870, it is entirely academic. The parish church of San Carlos contrasts with this academic classicism with its rough, solid and heavy mass and with the immense buttresses that support the side walls and the vault: a construction of interesting ingenuity, which seems to have been completed in 1801. Dell ‘ military architecture is preserved a fine example in the fortress of Santa Teresa, in the department of Rocha, whose construction lasted more than fifteen years (1765-1780). An example of a colonial house remains in Montevideo the house called “de Lavalleja”, in Via Zabala, from the early years of the century. XIX.

The continuous wars Uruguay waged to obtain the longed-for independence prevented or delayed any constructive activity. Nonetheless, in the last period of the Brazilian domination, around 1825, the first stone of the Maciel Hospital was placed, based on plans by the architect Tomás Toribio: a building of severe and correct architecture, in the neoclassical style. During the long siege of Montevideo, important constructions were begun, one of which is the Solts Theater, the work of the architect Garmendia. The English temple, built by the Uruguayan architect Antonio Paullier, hints at the influence of French architecture. In 1831, in Montevideo, Tomás Toribio built the sumptuous house “dei Montero” (today “de Roosen”), notable for its correct neoclassical architecture and for the wealth of materials. After the civil war, which lasted from 1843 to 1851, there was a large European immigration, in which there were some excellent technicians who oriented the nascent Montevidean architecture towards the forms of the Italian Renaissance. Bernardo Poncini, an architect from Ticino, made plans for the urban development of the capital, built the beautiful buildings known as “Hotel Bella Barcelona” and “Palacio de Gobierno”, which bear a certain resemblance to the palaces of Palladio and Scamozzi, and the “Rotonda” of the central cemetery. The influence of the Renaissance was also felt in many private buildings, where the proportions and correctness of the architecture adds the pleasant polychrome note produced by the terracotta ornaments. In the period between 1865 and 1880, which was of intense construction activity, new architectures appear that represent the eclecticism of that time. The French architect Victor Rabu builds buildings in the ogival and French Renaissance or Romanesque style. Ignacio Pedralbes, Uruguayan, adopts English Gothic for the building of the Ministry of Industries, a rather indefinite Romanesque style for the church of San Francesco; in 1877 the Italian architect Innocenzo Reyna built the current entrance door of the central cemetery, in which classical and Byzantine elements are poorly observed. The preferred style was also ogival for the numerous country houses that were built around Montevideo. In the last five years of the century. In the nineteenth century the medieval styles, used only in isolated cases, lost ground and the Italian Renaissance returned to fashion, especially thanks to the architect Juan A. Capurro and the engineers Giovanni Tosi and Luigi Andreoni. Del Capurro, originally from Uruguay but trained in Italy, we remember the ex-Ministry of the Interior, an example of Palladian architecture, and the Cibils theater; the Lotto administration building by Tosi; the Andreoni headquarters of the “Club Uruguay”, the central railway station, the French legation, the headquarters of the Italian and Spanish banks, the Italian hospital, etc. The German architects Parcus and Siegerist built, in the style of the Italian Renaissance, a little Germanized, the offices of the town hall of Montevideo. Even in religious architecture of this period we can observe the Italian influence, from which instead the Uruguayan architect Julián Masquelez, graduated from the school of fine arts in Paris, and the Spaniard Emilio Buix, who were the first to teach architecture in the faculty of mathematics of Montevideo. Among the numerous public buildings of recent construction, the Legislative Palace stands out for its magnificence, the first floors of which were drawn by the Italian architect Vittorio Meano and then substantially modified by the other Italian Gaetano Moretti. At the end of the century XIX and at the beginning of the XX century a certain confusion occurs again in private architecture: new styles appear, such as the one called neo-Greek, in which attempts were made to imitate Greek models and ornaments, the much vaunted new art, so popular in Europe around 1900, and finally the French styles Louis XV and Louis XVI, which predominated for almost thirty years. Presently these “styles” are losing ground to the influence of modern rational architecture.

Uruguay Architecture (1660-1815)