An Argentinean Institute in Paris
In 1909, a group of academics from Argentina decided to strengthen relations between the Université de Paris and its counterpart in Buenos Aires. The result was a French institute in Buenos Aires and an Argentinean institute in Paris, the Argentina Foundation at the Cité internationale, to be exact. Its construction was financed in part by the Argentinean government and in part by a wealthy Argentinean businessman from a German family, Otto Sebastián Bemberg. The Foundation was officially opened by the President of France, Gaston Doumergue on 27 June 1928.
Two buildings, three architects
Three architects were called upon to design the Argentina Foundation, two Frenchmen, Betourné and Fagnez, and Argentinean Tito Saubidet. The construction was divided into two separate buildings connected by a covered gallery with a courtyard between them, a larger building with 50 rooms and a smaller one with 25 rooms. There are four columns on either side of the entrance to the building supporting the roof of Spanish tiles; the entryway, with its archways, is unmistakably Argentinean in style. Both the layout and the décor of the building recall the traditional farms or “estancias” on the pampas of Argentina. The atmosphere inside the buildings is warm and welcoming; unfortunately, the frescoes depicting the pampas, painted by Tito Suabidet himself, have been lost.
Did you know?
Originally, the larger building in the Argentina Foundation housed men and married couples only, while women lived in the smaller building. The two only became mixed with the arrival of democracy in 1983.