Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apartment #5 - Almagro

Jonathan has been living in Buenos Aires for over three years and has only been in his new apartment in Almagro for a week, but it already feels like home for him.  The apartment is right at the back of the group, in a property that originally housed many families and people together in a kind of communal living.  These buildings were known as conventillos, where rooms in each apartment were rented by different people and existed predominant in the southern neighbourhoods of San Telmo and La Boca, close to the port around the early 1900s.  This style of living was common for recently arrived immigrants and people that were from the lower classes.  Today some of these buildings remain and are divided into separate apartments.  

The entrance and internal courtyard space is vast for Buenos Aires standards and there is a huge palm tree that greets people when they enter the complex.  When you enter Jonathan´s apartment you find a hallway with windows on one side looking out onto the courtyard entrance, and the three bedrooms one after the other, each with access from the hallway.  At the end of the hall around the corner is a common area with a dining table, and an attached kitchen with a breakfast bar.  Light fills the hallway and dining areas and the old windows reflect their patterns and shapes in shadows.

The apartment is a glimpse into the history of Buenos Aires and it´s inhabitants.

This last photo is of the footpath in front of the building, and is a plaque in remembrance of someone who lived in the building and was kidnapped and killed by the military government that took control of the country during the 1970s and 80s.  Many of these plaques exist around the city as a way to rememeber some of the more than 30,000 people that "disappered" and were killed during this time, and a constant reminder of their presence and the recent dark history that belongs to Argentina.  The plaque says:

"Alicia Pardo lived here and was kidnapped, political activist, detained and disappered by the terrorism of the state, 02.06.76. Neighbourhoods for the memory and justice."

1 comment: