Architecture & Urban Design

Buenos Aires’ Casa Taller Forner-Bigatti

Adam Štěch

Historical architecture journalist Adam Štěch tracks down a forgotten artifact of modernism in Argentina

In 2006, architecture and design journalist Adam Štěch launched an ambitious project to document the best modernist architecture around the globe. Over 30 countries and more than a decade later, he shares his findings in a new book—and a special series of edited excerpts just for the Design Miami Forum.

In coordination with Design Miami/ 2020’s America theme, Štěch spotlights historical modernist homes across the Americas, celebrating a diversity of perspectives as he considers how time and place played into each of these expressions. For the first installment, Štěch took us to Brazil. Now onto Argentina.


Casa Taller Forner-Bigatti by Alejo Martínez

Argentina, 1937

Casa Taller Forner-Bigatti by Alejo Martínez, 1937. Photo © Adam Štěch

Built for the sculptor Alfredo Bigatti and painter Raquel Forner, this small modernist house is located in the San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. The house includes two artist studios: one on the ground floor dedicated to sculpture and a painting studio upstairs. Designed by architect Alejo Martínez circa 1937, the Forner-Bigatti house and studio was one of the first modernist houses in Argentina and exhibits the classically unornamented, white-box forms of the movement. Today it is a museum dedicated to the work of these two important artists.

 Casa Taller Forner-Bigatti by Alejo Martínez, 1937. Photo © Adam Štěch

After Casa Taller Forner-Bigatt, many modernist structures were erected around Buenos Aires in the late 1930s and 1940s, coinciding with a period in which Argentina became a more powerful and rich country. At the time, the modernist style flourished in the capital, mostly in the forms of spacious apartment buildings. Casa Taller Forner-Bigatt is an exception as an individual dwelling typology. It is clearly inspired by Bauhaus ideas and the work of Le Corbusier, who first visited Argentina in 1929 at the invitation of the Buenos Aires’ Society of the Friends of Art. ◆


Adam Štěch’s new book Modern Architecture and Interiors (Prestel) celebrates over 1000 modernist architectural gems from around the globe. It is available for purchase here.