There is a lot to do about Carlos Thays, the landscape architect. Not only is his name mentioned quite often, now there is an exhibition in the Centro Cultural de Recoleta, that ends the 4th of december.
In fact Thays was more then just a landscape architect. In Buenos Aires, through his parks, he designed the general views of the city. Without his parks and open spaces, Buenos Aires wouldn’t be the Buenos Aires that we know today.
He was born in Versailles in France in 1849 and was French, although his father was Belgian (ha!). He has worked for Edouard André, an important landscape architect in France, and together with him he worked in several European cities and became known around the world.
His big example was Baron de Haussman, who changed Paris into what it is today, together with Adolphe Alphand.
In 1889 he sailed to Buenos Aires as he was asked by Miguel Crisol to design a park in Cordoba. Unfortunately Crisol was hit by the crisis in 1890 and had to give up his plans for the huge park. Thays traveled to Buenos Aires from where he wanted to go back to France, but he was offered a job as Director of Parks, which he accepted.
In 1892 Thays got married in Buenos Aires, to Cora Venturino, a girl from Uruguay who was 25 years younger then him. She was known as ‘la señora de Thays’.
He became a member of different organisations and clubs, such as Club Français, Comité del Centenario, Sociedad Rural Argentina and many more, and soon considered himself as an Argentine. He was loved by everyone.
He has designed numerous parks in Buenos Aires (Parque del Centenario, Parque Lezama, Patricios, Barrancas de Belgrano, Colon, and Pereya) and several squares (Constitución, Congreso, and Mayo). At that time Buenos Aires had a very large amount of green areas in relation with its population.
His biggest work was undoubtly the Parque Tres de Febrero, better known as the Bosques de Palermo. This parks has 25 ha and has groves lakes and a wonderful rosegarden. The park was designed by Jordán Czeslaw Wysocki and inaugurated in 1875. In 1892 Thays was asked to enlarge and improve the park. He designed the Rose Garden, the the zoological gardens and the Botanical gardens. He and his family lived in the house in the Botanical garden.
Other than the public parks, Thays also designed gardens of many big mansions in the city, many of them situated in Avenida Alvear. He worked for Duhau, Mitre, Díaz Velez Drago, Blaquier and others.
He also designed parks in estancias all over the country.
Examples are estancia La Benquerencia in Monte, Dos Talas in Dolores, and 3 estancias owned by the President Julio A. Roca called La Larga (la)Paz (and la)Argentina.
Thays always used local plants combined with plants from allover the world. The local plants are Lapacho, Ceibo, Jacaranda, Tipa and Palo Borracho.
Carlos Thays died in Buenos Aires in 1934. Without any doubt Thays is the most important landscape architect that has ever lived in Argentina, he will live on forever.
You can visit the exhibition in the Centro Cultural de Recoleta (between the church and Buenos Aires Design) until the 4th of december (next friday), from 14h to 20h. It is a good exposition although I would have prefered it bigger with more details about his designs. If you pass by, just pop in, it’s for free. In the way to it they have made a butterfly garden which is really nice. Can someone give me the name of the tree blooming in the butterfly garden? The smell is devine…