Brought the French to Argentina
Today is the birthday of the French-Argentine landscape architect Carlos Thays (“Tays”).
Carlos Thays took a business trip to Argentina when he turned forty in 1889. His job was to design a park in Cordoba. The project was life-changing for Thays when Argentina unexpectedly captured his heart. He decided to move to Argentina and he spent the back half of his life in his adopted homeland.
If you visit Argentina today, the green spaces in the capital city of Buenos Aires are all thanks to Carlos Thays - the tree-lined streets, the parks, the paths, and the promenades.
Essentially Carlos brought the French Landscape to Argentina - one of the many reasons why the country has a strong European vibe.
It’s hard to imagine a Buenos Aires without trees, and yet, that is the sight that greeted Carlos when he arrived in 1889. Carlos recognized the immediate need for trees. You know the old saying, the best time to plant a tree is thirty years ago and the second-best time is today? Well, that, essentially is a philosophy Carlos adopted. He knew that the quickest way to transform Argentina into the lush landscape we know today meant making a commitment to planting trees. Over his lifetime, Carlos planted over 1.2 million trees in the capital city. Now, the other smart decision Carlos made was to focus on native trees for his plantings. One of the most impressive trees in all of Buenos Aires is the oldest tree in the city - a massive rubber tree that the locals call El “Gran Gomero.” The crown of Gran Gomero is over 50 meters wide.
In Buenos Aires alone, Carlos designed over ninety percent of the public spaces in and around the city. In addition, Carlos worked on hundreds of projects all across Argentina. But a project that was near to his heart was the creation of the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden that covers 8 hectares. The garden was established a decade after Carlos arrived in Argentina. Carlos considered the Botanical Garden to be his masterpiece.
It was Charles Thays who said,
“To achieve happiness, it’s better to live in a cabin in a forest, than in a palace without a garden.”