Famed Argentine Architect Clorindo Testa Honored With Google Doodle in Latin America

Clorindo Testa, an influential figure in Argentine brutalism, receives Google Doodle recognition on the anniversary of his landmark work.

Google changed its logo in several Latin American countries today, November 27, 2023, to honor renowned Argentine architect Clorindo Testa on the 4th anniversary of one of his most iconic works being named a national historic monument.

Known as the “father of Argentine brutalism,” Testa pioneered a distinct national architectural style in the mid-20th century. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 89, leaving behind a towering legacy in Latin America and around the world.

Lasting Legacy as Pioneering Architect

Testa was born in Italy in 1923 but moved to Buenos Aires with his family as an infant. Growing up in Argentina, he developed a passion for the arts at a young age.

After first studying to be an engineer, Testa found his calling in architecture. He graduated at the top of his class in 1948 from the University of Buenos Aires School of Architecture and Urbanism. This kicked off a decades-long career designing acclaimed buildings across Argentina.

In 1955, a government complex Testa designed in La Pampa province marked his first major project and his introduction to the brutalist style. Brutalism’s signature features—raw concrete surfaces, blocky geometric shapes, and an emphasis on function over form—would come to define Testa’s later work.

His 1958 headquarters design for the Bank of London and South America in Buenos Aires brought Testa international renown and cemented his reputation as a brutalist pioneer.

Over the following decades, Testa contributed celebrated designs to Argentina’s architectural landscape, such as the Central Naval Hospital and Konex Cultural City. Both exemplify his flair for fusing brutalist forms with visual punch, such as vivid colors and bold textures.

National Library Named Historic Landmark

As Google’s November 27th doodle reminds us, one Testa building was elevated to landmark status on this day in 2019.

The Mariano Moreno National Library in Buenos Aires, a project Testa led in the 1960s, was declared a national historic monument by the Argentine government.

Combining geometry and gravity-defying shapes in the signature brutalist style, the National Library represents the apotheosis of Testa’s avant-garde approach, according to architecture scholars.

Its interlocking concrete volumes house over 400,000 volumes in a soaring, light-filled structure that has become an architectural icon of Buenos Aires.

Lasting Influence Through Teaching

Beyond his buildings, Testa helped nurture succeeding generations of South American architects through his long career as a professor at the University of Buenos Aires. He served for many years as director of the School of Architecture and Urbanism, where he had studied as a young man.

Testa’s legacy lives on in his architectural works across Argentina as well as his role as an educator who helped shape the future of Latin American architecture.

The Google Doodle debuting today in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay celebrates all facets of Testa’s pioneering impact. It incorporates distinctive elements from his most famous buildings, rendered in his vibrant style.

What the Future Holds

As Argentina continues to honor Testa’s contributions on important anniversaries, there are also efforts underway to revitalize and repurpose more of the great architect’s existing buildings.

The head of Argentina’s Ministry of Culture has announced intentions to rehabilitate Testa-designed cultural centers that have fallen into disuse or disrepair in recent decades.

There are also calls to expand exhibits of Testa’s archival materials and creative works to give the public better access and understanding of his legacy.

So, while Google’s colorful doodle may fade after today, the bright hues and bold forms of Clorindo Testa’s structures and spirit seem destined to keep shaping Argentina’s architectural landscape well into the future. His ingenious brutalist vision revolutionized not just buildings but an entire nation’s sense of identity through public spaces.