Benjamin Vargas, FAIA. (TSA '80) publishes a record of all of the buildings that have been considered for the Test of Time Award by the Puerto Rico chapter

David Armentor

Oct 30, 2014

The publication was launched September 26 at the AIA Puerto Rico Convention.

About the Guide:

This guide is a record of all of the buildings that have been considered for the Test of Time Award by the Puerto Rico chapter of the American Institute of Architects from 1990 to 2009. When the idea for this guide was first conceived, it was intended to be both informal to read and functional to carry along on architectural visits and thus its tone has deliberately been kept conversational. All comments are by the editor except as noted. The buildings in this guide are divided in two groups: “Awards” and “Also-ran”. For the 2009 program, the winners were not announced due to an irregularity in the inscription process. The guide presents all the participants of that year.

Already several generations of Puerto Rican architects, many of them TSA alumni, have confidently designed buildings using a modern architectural vocabulary making it their own and continuing the perception of modern architecture as a cultural trait of the island as well as a reflection of community aspirations. This is so because the wealth of architectural work of the mid- to late-twentieth century on the island is exceptional: for us as a society, for the Caribbean as a community and for the world as an example.

Why “La Vereda Tropical”(The Tropical Trail)?

There is no comprehensive book describing the history of architecture in Puerto Rico in the XX century. Many authors have already documented some of it from the 1900’s to the 1950’s. AIA Puerto Rico has published the winners of the Honor Awards program since 1976. This timeline shows there is a gap in the sequence roughly from the years 1960 to 1980. This guide modestly fills the story gap, thus, “The Tropical Trail”.

The entries are listed in an order that makes for logical routes and include their coordinates to help casual wanderers locate them via global positioning systems in cars or other devices. They are also presented in geographical order clockwise from east to west as shown on the maps included. Please note that some of these buildings are privately owned and access to them is not necessarily granted.

Finally, the interest generated with this guide will be helpful in preparing a comprehensive general reference work with essays dedicated to the same subject an the proceeds from its sale will fund the AIA Puerto Rico scholarship for ARE candidates. The guide is available at and the AIA Florida/Caribbean Region website



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