The historical concept of the “desert” is both cultural and geographic in Argentina, connecting nineteenth-century territorial conquest to twentieth-century public works projects. Between 1936 and 1940, the architect Francisco Salamone constructed a series of roads, plazas, municipal headquarters, slaughterhouses, and cemeteries. These buildings and infrastructure projects highlight the necessary relationship between settler colonialism and changing labor patterns in the South American nation’s uneasy transition into global capitalism. This paper synthesizes a range of historiography and analyzes visual material, including photographs, architectural drawings, and cartographic documents, to demonstrate the powerful connection between architectural production, cultural erasure, and economic change in Argentina.
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