magnificent buildings in Montevideo, according to Carlos Ott

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Cabildo

“This austere neoclassic structure from the early 19th century, designed by architect Tomás Toribio, served as the seat of the local government for almost 100 years. It was also the seat of the Legislative Branch and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

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Residence Mauricio Cravotto

“This is one of the best examples of rationalist architecture from the 1930s. It’s the house of one of my father’s professors, Mauricio Cravotto, where I spent nights drawing perspectives and listening to classical music.”

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Torre de los Homenajes

“Designed by architect Julio Scasso, this elegant vertical sculpture prevails over the horizontality of the Estadio Centenario, a mythical structure for soccer which hosted the first World Cup, in 1930. Built out of reinforced concrete, in art-deco style and standing 320 feet [98 m] tall, the tower is an homage to the Olympic champions of 1924 and 1928.”

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School of Architecture at Universidad de La República

“I believe it’s probably the most pleasant School of Architecture in the world, where I may have spent the best years of my life. The structure – the result of a competition won by architect Román Fresnedo Siri – was inaugurated, coincidentally, in the same year I was born: 1946.”

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Torre de las Telecomunicaciones

“This building, currently the tallest tower in Montevideo, at 540 feet [165 m], was designed by my firm in the 1990s. The idea came about as part of an urban plan to develop and empower the neighborhood where it’s located: La Aguada.”

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Capilla de la Caridad at Hospital Maciel

“Adjacent to the Ciudad Vieja hospital, this 19th century chapel proves that size isn’t essential when creating a worthy and majestic space. Also this colonial structure evokes some of my eternal memories – I got married there over 45 years ago.”

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Plaza Zabala

“This plaza, designed by the Council of the Indies, in Seville, had the original Spanish project modified. In the Uruguayan capital, it took on French forms, thanks to a project proposed by French landscape architect Édouard André in the 19th century. The plaza has an equestrian monument in honor of Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, who founded Montevideo in 1724.”

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Residence Julio Vilamajó

“It’s the residence of another of my father’s professors: Julio Vilamajó. This structure competes with the house of Vilamajó’s colleague and ‘rival’ Mauricio Cravotto. Legend has it that when both buildings were completed, Vilamajó congratulated Cravotto for having the best residence in Montevideo. However, when Cravotto elegantly disagreed with his colleague, Vilamajó insisted, using an irrevocable argument: ‘Your house has a better view than mine.’”

Text Rodrigo Barría
Photos Lucas Malcuori