Review: ‘Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980’ at MoMA

Review: ‘latin america in construction: architecture 1955-1980’ at moma
Latin America in Construction A model of Rogelio Salmona’s Torres del Parque in Bogotá, Colombia, from 1964-70, at the Museum of Modern Art.

“Latin America in Construction” recalls a not-so-distant time when architects and governments together dreamed big about changing the world for the better. From Cuba to Chile, Mexico to Argentina, cities in the region boomed. The task of providing everybody with homes ultimately proved unmanageable: proliferating slums outpaced new construction; poverty rose. By the 1980s, a pitiless neoliberalism swept aside much of the abiding faith in public largess and its social agenda.

Even so, what got built through the 1970s in places like Havana and Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Lima included some of the most inspired architecture of the modern age. The show is an eye-opener, rectifying a long-skewed, Eurocentric worldview, shedding light on a period neglected for generations outside the region. It’s the sort of exhibition MoMA still does best.

That it glides over politics, lumps some nations together and ignores others, like Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, provides fodder for detractors and for reams of future dissertations. It is next to impossible to discern from the show, say, what transpired in Cuba, where the United States’ embargo, Soviet prefabricated concrete-panel housing and Fidel Castro’s regime quashed a short-lived efflorescence of revolutionary architecture. The exhibition nods to an exemplar of that creativity, the National Art Schools in Havana, partly designed by two Italian architects, but it overlooks far less familiar projects, like the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas by Joaquín Galván and the medical campus in Santiago de Cuba by Rodrigo Tascón. Others will make up their own lists of the disappeared. []

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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