The main character of the story is Vanessa Bell, an English journalist specialized in architecture who refloated a project to save the Ariston building in Mar del Plata. It is the only work that the prominent Hungarian architect Marcel Breuer left in Latin America.
Vanessa runs a campaign to buy and restore the Parador Ariston, which is now abandoned. “I am resuming negotiations with potential investors to save this historic building. Next week I have to meet with the Heritage Committee to clarify a number of issues and see which parts of the land were protected. Let’s see if a complete rebuild would be possible, ”he says.
Vanessa presented the project in London with the support of the Argentine embassy. Now he is seeking to raise funds to acquire the Parador Ariston, considered one of the jewels of modern architecture. “I convinced the owners to sell it to me. The idea is to travel to Mar del Plata in December to re-negotiate the terms of the acquisition and a new agreement, ”he says.
The initiative arose when Vanessa went to the Parador and observed the state of abandonment in which the building was located, located on the side of Route 11, about 20 kilometers south of Mar del Plata. “When I first saw him, I couldn’t believe the state he was in,” he recalls. The project is ambitious and seeks to restore the Ariston to its original image.
“I love Mar del Plata, but it has a potential that is not exploited,” says Vanessa. I don’t understand why Argentines don’t understand that by restoring a historic building, the area would lift and attract tourists from all over the country and abroad. The city should focus on the modernist legacy it has and take advantage of architectural tourism ”.
The hostel was built 73 years ago from a design left by Breuer. It is located in front of the sea, at the access to the Playa Serena area. At one time a confectionery operated. Today the building is witness to the abandonment.
London to Buenos Aires
Vanessa is 40 years old and lived in London until she was 30. She moved to Buenos Aires 10 years ago, where she writes articles on architecture for specialized media and also organizes tours with foreign and Argentine tourists through Buenos Aires neighborhoods.
Her mother is Argentine and as a child she used to bring her on vacation to Buenos Aires and Villa Gesell in the summer season to escape the cold and rain in London. He was also several times in Mar del Plata. “It is a city that I love, especially outside the high season,” he remarks.
“It is nice to live in Argentina,” he says. And he says that he is struck by the fact that there are Argentines who want to leave the country: “They idealize everyday life in Europe a lot. If you are middle class, you live better here than there with less, ”he says. “To live well in Europe you have to earn a lot of money and work long hours. Although I recognize that there is no inflation like here, I have friends in London who earn well but cannot save and half their salary goes to rent, which is very expensive ”.
In addition, Vanessa affirms that “it is easier” to enter the freelance labor market in Argentina than in Europe. And it is surprising to appreciate another aspect that many Argentines complain about: “I feel safer in Buenos Aires than in London, where fucked up things happened to me and I was mugged. It is a lie that there is no insecurity in Europe ”.