Buenos Aires architecture is characterized by its eclectic nature, with parts of the city resembling Barcelona, Paris and Madrid. The Argentines appear to value their European heritage highly and the lifestyle and architecture are markedly more European than any other in South America. Today glass-sheathed skyscrapers cast their slender shadows on 19th century Victorian houses and other parts of the city have seen the evolving of styles that are almost unique.
Obviously, the Spanish had a major influence on the early architecture of the country. Italian and French influences increased after the declaration of independence at the beginning of the 19th century. During the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, other European influences penetrated into the country, reflected by several buildings of Buenos Aires such as the Iglesia Santa Felicitas by Ernesto Bunge; the Palace of Justice, the National Congress, and the Teatro Colon, all of them by Vittorio Meano.
The simplicity of the baroque style can be clearly seen in Buenos Aires in the churches of San Ignacio, Nuestra Senora del Pilar, and the unusual Cathedral. By 1900 Buenos Aires was considered to be one of the twelve world capitals with the finest architecture. Buenos Aires was said to be the third fastest growing city in the world behind Hamburg and Chicago. From 1880 to 1930, Buenos Aires went through a major makeover, unparalleled anywhere. Throughout these years the ever-growing sophisticated architecture aimed to symbolize the country’s prestige and greatness. Some of the finest buildings, for instance, the National Postal Office building, were designed by the same architects in charge of designing buildings in New York and elsewhere.
The architecture of the second half of the 20th century continued to reproduce French neoclassic models, such as the headquarters of the Banco de la Nacion Argentina, and the Museo Hispanoamericano de Buenos Aires. This style was to be complemented during the early 20s with innovative styles such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. However, since the 1930s the influence of European rationalism has been pronounced. The construction of skyscrapers proliferated in Buenos Aires until the 1950s and many of these are still interesting.
Newer modern high-technology buildings by Argentine architects in the last years of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st include the Le Parc Tower, the Torre Fortabat and the Repsol-YPF Tower. These buildings, and others like them, can be seen in the city centre but also throughout the newly developed Puerto Madero area. But other areas are interesting as well.
In the San Telmo district, the city's multinational heritage is embodied in a varied and cosmopolitan architecture - Spanish Colonial design couples with Italian detailing and graceful French Classicism. La Boca's pressed tin houses are painted a rainbow of colours, and muralists have turned the district's side-streets into avenues of interest.