Plaza Naciones Unidas (Avenida Figueroa Alcorta @ Quiroga)
The giant metal petals close at dusk as dark skies move in. Photo by Clare Nisbet
The Floris Genérica is one the most recognizable images of Buenos Aires. Walking along Avenida Figueroa Alcorta from the Facultad de Derecho (University of Law) to the MALBA, it is not unheard of to be asked directions to “the big metal flower”. Standing in the center of the Plaza Naciones Unidas (United Nations Plaza), in a 40-meter reflecting pool, the flower was erected in 2002 as a gift from architect Eduardo Catalano. The use of the term 'Genérica' in its name suggests that it is a symbol of all flowers in the world. Opinions differ about it’s beauty but there is no questioning that the flower is a powerful, modern symbol of technology and nature.
The shiny flower consists of 6 petals (each measuring 13 meters long and 7 meters wide) and 4 pistons. The petals close in the evening from sunset to sunup; a 20-minute process mimicking the actual movement of a flower. It is surrounded by a peaceful pool and winding paths allowing for different viewpoints and quiet contemplation. The surrounding plaza is off-limits to dogs making it both one of the few places in Buenos Aires where you don't have to dodge landmines and very popular with joggers. On four special evenings each year, the flower stays open all night: September 21st, May 25th, and December 24th and 31st. Most nights the closed flower is floodlit by red flood lights with smaller green lights along the pathways. Visitors should bring a camera for one of the most photographable images of Buenos Aires.
—Floralis Genérica review by Clare Nisbet