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Histories, Institutions and Characters

In Argentina

by Eduardo A. Kesting

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After a brief stay in Europe as a result  of ill health and the death of his wife due to an epidemic of yellow fever he returned to New York where he practised with Henry Fernbach and later in partnership with John Hinchman, he took part in several competitions for clubs, theaters, Hotels, apartment buildings and grand townhouses, some outstanding such as the Progress Club, an exclusive club for the german speaking jewish comunity, the University of New York and mansions for the Lauterbach, Rothschild and Goldemberg families amongst others.

 

Towards the end of the 1880´s Zucker was instrumental in the development of a new business area in the lower west side of Broadway, where he employed cast iron facades and decorations so popular at the time. Alter 1896 his work diminished and perhaps as a result of this he started practising in partnership with James Riely Godon.

 

In 1904 he travelled to South America, during his stay in Uruguay he took part in the competition for the design of the new Legislative Palace in Montevideo and later settled in Buenos Aires, then a sought after destination for many prominent architects and builders.

 

During the following decade he designed and built several important buildings, some of which sadly no longer stand. For the local Banker and enterpreneur Ernesto Tornquist he built the Plaza Hotel, the most luxurious and modern hotel at the time and the German Bank. Also the Avenida Palace Hotel and the Casado y Corral building, both in the then fashionable avenida de Mayo and the Villalonga Building in the corner of Balcarce and Moreno, the Gran Hotel Casino in Belgrano, the open air theater in the Parque Japones, a popular amusement park at the time and the stables for the Villalonga company which then employed horse drawn carts and wagons.

 

For the design of both the Plaza Hotel and the Villalonga building he used the famous bow windows and brick walls which together with the light courts give a unique air and character to his buildings reminiscent of New York at the turn of  the century, incorporating at the same time elements which were unheard of in Buenos Aires, such as lifts, escalators and central heating using steam.

 

Part of his work covering a period of 24 years in New York, mainly sketches, drawings and water colours form part of  a collection housed in the university of Texas.

 

He died in Buenos Aires on august 2nd 1913 and was buried at the British Cemetery of Buenos Aires - Chacarita.

Guillermo Bindon

28/10/2010

Edificio Villalonga calle Balcarce esq. Moreno - Alfred Zucker
Plaza Hotel. Plaza San Martin . Charcas esq. Florida – fachada original - Alfred Zucker

Plaza Hotel. Plaza San Martin . Charcas esq. Florida – fachada original.

Edificio Villalonga calle Balcarce esq. Moreno

1852   Alfred Zucker   1913

1852   Alfred Zucker   1913

 

Was born in Freiburg, Prussian Silesia on jan 23rd. 1852, he was educated firstly in the technical school in Brieg and later between 1868 and 1872 in the Polytechnic Academy in Aachen and Hannover. He graduated in 1873 in the Techical Academy in Berlin and was employed for some time in the State Railways in Hannover.

 

He travelled to the US where he settled firstly in Washington D.C and worked in the Office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury under Alfred Mullett and W.A. Potter. He then worked in Texas and after marrying Augusta Moser moved to Mississipi where he was employed firstly as consultant for the railway and later involved in several major projects such as the designs for  buildings in the South : the State A&M College at Starkville (1877-1880), the State Institute for the Blind in Jackson (1879-1880) and the State Insane Asylum in Meridian (1880-1882).