The headquarters of the BCRA has a rich architectural heritage, being one of the icons of the city of Buenos Aires. It is composed of several buildings on the block bounded by San Martín, Reconquista, Teniente General Perón and Sarmiento streets. The building located at San Martín 216—in the adjacent block—is also part of this group.
Several buildings have been incorporated over almost four decades, exhibiting different architectural and construction styles.
The BCRA was founded in 1935 and located at San Martín 275. The building had been built in 1872 and was the former headquarters of Banco Hipotecario de la Provincia de Buenos Aires. Two years later, part of the building’s rear façade was renovated and an annex was built in the center of the block, which was called Central.
In 1940, the development continued with the construction of the Reconquista 266 building, connecting both sides of the block. At that time, this building was identified as the "new" building of the BCRA.
Afterwards, other properties were added. By 1985, the BCRA had 17 buildings occupying a total covered area of 60,000 square meters. Today, several of these buildings are no longer part of the BCRA. It is worth mentioning that, during the presidency of Roque Maccarone in 2001, the inauguration of the Reconquista 250 building took place, which houses the Superintendence of Financial and Foreign Exchange Institutions.
The building was designed and built by architects Henry Hunt and Hans Schröeder to be the headquarters of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange in 1862.
Henry Hunt and Hans Schröeder were pioneers in Argentine bank architecture. They designed works such as Banco de Londres (1867) and Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (1874)—currently demolished—and Banco Hipotecario de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (1876), which today is one of the headquarters of the BCRA, located at San Martín 275.
The San Martín 216 building embodies the Italianate style. It is a two-story building with a large double-height hall, accessed through a lobby fringed by colored-glass doors. In the central hall, stock market transactions were carried out.
At present, the façade is the most important aspect of the building, set back from the municipal line with imposing fence of symmetrical composition and sober lines.
From 1935 onwards, the building was used by several banking institutions and, in 1942, it was transferred to the BCRA.
The building was designed and built between 1872 and 1876 by architects Henry Hunt (English) and Hans Schröeder (German), pioneers in Argentine bank architecture.
The building initially housed the headquarters of Banco Hipotecario de la Provincia de Buenos Aires. In 1888, it was used by the Argentine Supreme Court of Justice. Then, in 1912, it accommodated the Caja de Conversión, predecessor institution of the BCRA.
The façade, which exhibits significant institutional character, is an icon of the Italianate trend of the second period. The building of monumental scale, with columns and pilasters on both stories, is set back from the municipal line by an iron fence. It has plenty decoration and luxurious materials.
It is the oldest bank building in the city of Buenos Aires and was declared a National Historical Monument through Executive Order No. 1563/2005. It was restored by a team of people from BCRA’s Infrastructure Management Office, and experts in restoration, sculpture and conservation of historical buildings. The restoration work was approved and supervised by the National Commission of Historical Monuments, Places and Property.
The San Martín 235 building was designed by Gino Aloisi. The building was erected in 1920 and was originally designed for the insurance company "La Inmobiliaria." It was built in Italian Renaissance style with sober lines, and looks monumental and eclectic in nature.
The building was acquired by the BCRA in 1946. It features abundant cornices, balusters, coats of arms and façades. The first floor was renovated due to operational needs in 1960. The façade was modified and the original portico was eliminated.
In 1935, when the BCRA was founded, the so-called Central building was erected, with access through the lobby of the San Martín 275 building.
The building was designed by architects Lanús, Woodgate and Lanús. It has a rationalist style, with open stories and a compact circulation core.
At the same time, the rear land of the building was acquired. The building was finished in 1940. With the inauguration of the Reconquista 266 building, the new headquarters of the BCRA was completed, which included the building of Banco Hipotecario de la Provincia de Buenos Aires and the central tower to connect all other buildings.
In 1944, the BCRA acquired this property from the Anchorena family and for many years it was used as a parking lot. In 1993, the Board of Directors decided to carry out studies to construct a new building and connect it to the existing ones. Five years later, a national competitive selection process for preliminary projects was held. The winner was the Romero-Di Tata Studio. During excavation works, an original 19th century cistern was discovered in an excellent state of preservation. This valuable finding gave rise to the Rescue Archeology Project of the Universidad de Buenos Aires directed by Daniel Schavelzón, to safeguard real testimonies of the daily life of one of the old neighborhoods of the city.
The building was opened in September 2001 during the presidency of Roque Maccarone. Today, it houses the "Dr. Raúl Prebisch" library, the numismatic issues stand, and the Superintendence of Financial and Foreign Exchange Institutions, among other offices.