Pasaje Lanin is a short street, only 3 blocks long, and is tucked away under railway tracks in the neighbourhood of Barracas. It looks like another non-descript street lined with one-story houses until you look closer. Almost all the facades are decorated with colourful mosaic. The whole street is an art intervention by local artist Marino Santa Maria. (See location here).
The origins of Barracas neighbourhood go back to the 18th century. At the time, there were a few warehouses, or barracas, used to store cowhides, as well as a navy outpost for defense against invasions. In the 19th century, affluent families built their stately homes here. These families fled the area during the 1870s yellow fever epidemic. By the time the 20th century rolled around, Barracas had become a working-class neighbourhood. There are some signs of gentrification, though.
Marino Santa Maria decided to intervene his workshop’s facade in the late 1990s with abstract shapes using brighlty coloured tile shards and Venetian tiles. One by one, his neighbours asked him to do the same with their houses. The result is an open-air urban art gallery officially opened in 2001. They even got the support of the local government. The mosaic technique used in some of the houses is called trencadís, made famous by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
How to get to Pasaje Lanin
By bus: take any line to Hospital Borda, like the 95 or 100. Walk along Dr. Carrillo St, turn left onto Brandsen St. and make an immediate right into Pasaje Lanin.
What to do
Enjoy the colours and shapes, take lots of pictures, visit Santa Maria’s workshop, head to La Flor de Barracas for lunch or afternoon coffee.