While visiting Buenos Aires, my wife and I wanted to see the MALBA, a museum of modern Latin-American art that came highly recommended. It was a rainy day and when our taxi dropped us off at the steps of the MALBA we were disappointed to find it closed for the day. So it goes -- should have called ahead before coming.
Not wanting to waste the morning, we decided to walk around the upscale Palermo Chico neighborhood in which the museum is situated. It's a safe neighborhood -- not all areas of Buenos Aires are recommended for tourists -- and we had no firm plans about where to go. We just wanted to explore a little.
A few blocks south on Ave Pres Figueroa Alcortra we noticed an unusual and very interesting building on a side street to our left, directly across from the Haitian embassy. We walked closer and admired the beauty of its architecture, including an impressive tower, and lovely entry gates. The building was also locked up.
Subsequent research showed this to be the Casa Redonda, or "Round House". It was designed by Mario Palanti, the famous Italian architect whose resume also includes the city's landmark Barolo Palace. This building was constructed in the 1920s. The reliefs on the front gates belong to Dante and his muse, Beatrice (architect Palanti was obsessed with Dante).
The house is thought to have been built for the Fevre family, who represented Chrysler in Argentina. In the 1980s it was the embassy for Iran, although it was subsequently abandoned for almost a decade. The building has apparently been restored and recently opened as a showroom for luxury furniture and contemporary art.