• Chacarita Moderna: The Brutalist Necropolis of Buenos Aires by the Architect Itala Fulvia Villa
    Léa Namer
    Building Books, 2023
    Léa Namer

Léa Namer, "Temple of the Sexto Panteón," designed by Itala Fulvia Villa, Buenos Aires, built 1950–58, 2019. Digital photograph. Courtesy the author

Between 1950 and 1958, when Argentina was at its apogee of prominence, the city of Buenos Aires built the Sexto Panteón, a gigantic underground brutalist necropolis of 150,000 plots. The building is one of first and largest examples of an experimental cemetery in modern architecture, and yet remains almost completely unknown. The forgotten architect of the Sexto Panteón, Itala Fulvia Villa, was one of Argentina's first female architects and urbanists and was a pioneer of the South American Modernist movement. She helped Le Corbusier develop his urban plan of the Argentine capital however was never recognized for her work due to the fact that she was a woman. Sixty years later, this book is a sensitive reflection on the legacy of a modern utopia and a feminist retelling of history.

Léa Namer is a French architect, independent researcher, and curator who graduated from the Ecole d’Architecture de Paris la Villette. She lives and works between Paris and Buenos Aires, a city she first discovered during her international exchange in 2011. After spending the first years of her career working for Parisian architecture and landscape studios, she started developing personal projects related to the world of architecture. In 2016, she curated with Milena Charbit the exhibition Îles de la Seine for the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, in Paris. A few years later she appropriated her research for the previous exhibition into the publication of the children's book Iris au fil de la Seine (Editions Magellan, 2021). In 2019, she initiated an independent architectural research project about the Sexto Panteón of the Chacarita Cemetery, in Buenos Aires. Chacarita Moderna, her multidisciplinary exhibition (photo, video, installation) has been shown several times in Argentina and Europe and her online exhibition (in three languages) has been viewed by more than 7,000 visitors.