Triple Alliance in reverse
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Modern architecture in Latin America is not uncharted territory; it is still to be explored in depth. Within this framework I trace the development of modern architecture in Paraguay through the relationship with its regional neighbors—Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. These sometimes-contentious regional relationships not only fueled a war—the War of the Triple Alliance, which confronted Paraguay with the Triple Alliance of the neighboring countries Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. These same relationships produced the first examples of modern architecture in Paraguay. The four nations that are historically connected from pre-Columbian times find in the examples of modern architecture developed in Paraguay in the 1950s an expression of this connectivity, reflecting its tensions and the exchange produced within its margins. Through the three parts of this thesis I work to decode the socio-economic framework that permeates the built environment. First, by addressing the region and its contentious relationships I look to bridge the conflict to modern architecture. Second, in approaching the subject I define the conditions of Asunción, the capital city, where the majority of the examples of modern architecture in the country are located. Third, through the analysis of three case studies I decode the influence of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay in the development of modern architecture in Paraguay. This “Triple Alliance in Reverse” offers an opportunity to explore a view of modern architecture in Latin America as an alternative to the traditional north-south dynamic of architectural conversation to a south-south exchange, holding modern architecture in Paraguay as an example of these exchanges. I have worked with the guidance of the scholarship of contemporary studies of architecture in Latin America with a critical view of the development of modern architecture across the developing world. Given the lack of bibliography and formal documentation regarding modern architecture in Paraguay, I have relied on interviews, photography, contemporary publications, and comparison with the development of modern architecture in the three countries that contributed to the development of modern architecture in Paraguay, combined with direct documentation of the buildings, to draw a profile of the development of modern architecture in Paraguay. As a result, Triple Alliance in Reverse decodes the contribution of the former Triple Alliance members to the development of modern architecture in Paraguay in the 1950s and projects it into the present and future condition of architecture in Paraguay and the region.