Even with the kitsch merchants who pervade the plaza with Siberian huskies and Saint Bernards for photographic poses, and the graffiti that often deface General Roca’s equestrian statue, the array of buildings that border it would be the pride of many cities around the globe. The view to Lago Nahuel Huapi is a bonus, even when the boxy Bariloche Center blocks the sun.
Bariloche’s Centro Cívico was a team effort, envisioned by architect Ernesto de Estrada in 1936 and executed under APN director Exequiel Bustillo until its inauguration in 1940. When the Municipalidad’s Torre Reloj (Clock Tower) sounds at noon, figures from Patagonian history appear to mark the hour. Other buildings of interest, with steep-pitched roofs and arched arcades that offer shelter from inclement weather, include the former Correo (post office, but now the tourism office) and the Museo de la Patagonia.
Exequiel Bustillo’s brother, architect Alejandro Bustillo, designed the Intendencia de Parques Nacionales (National Park Headquarters, San Martín 24), one block north, to harmonize with the Centro Cívico. As a collective national monument, they represent Argentine Patagonia’s best.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition