Consorcio Building Concepcion / Enrique Browne

Architects: Enrique Browne y Asociados Arquitectos
Location: Concepción,
Associated Architect: Patricio Browne
Collaborators: Enrique C. Browne, Sebastián Morandé, Davor Pavlovic
Project year: 2003-2004
Site Area: 1,096 sqm
Constructed Area: 3,789 sqm
Structural Consultants: Ruiz y Saavedra Ingenieros
Contractor: Ignacio Hurtado y Cia.
Technical Inspection: Juan Eduardo Mujica
Photographs: Guy Wenborne


The rainy city of Concepción, is located in the mouth of the Bío-Bío River, 520 Km south of Santiago. It has aprox. 220.000 inhabitants, but its threshold spans reaches some 630.000 people. The highlights of its economy are the elaboration of steel and the wood industry, both on wide exporting booms. We were asked to design a branch of the ‘Consorcio Nacional de Seguros’, National Insurance Consortium, in a corner site, in front of the only historic and antique church in Concepción, whose façade had been unfortunately reconstructed after an earthquake. Furthermore, it had a front fenced square that impoverished its quality and public character.

site plan

A first version was carried out. It consisted in a triangular building with the vertical circulation organized in a glazed tower in the south. Because the triangular building spun the first two floors in a double height space, a square was created, which joined to the church’s square, creating an environment of urban interest. In turn, the double point of the corner cantilever emphasized the building presence from the busy San Martin Street. The building was clad in copper. The glazed sectors had a ‘double ’ with climbing plants on the North and West sides. This solution was eliminated for being expensive.


A simpler and more rectangular proposal was developed. The building also withdraws on the west to visually enlarge the square, which passes by the street, joining the old church to the new building. A interesting public space would be added to Concepción.

The building is composed basically by three elements:

exploted axo

a) A free plant “volume” that looks to the East, North and West, protected from the sun by laminated wood sections that support a “double green skin” with mature climbing plants. The wood use alludes to the regional production;

b) A “plan-volume” vertical to the South that flies over the square. Improves the energetic conservation of the building. It is clad in undulated metal plates, a material very utilized in the South of Chile in an economic version. Reminds as well the production of regional steel. Its tall and large windows allow views towards the hills of Concepción, but block the sight of the haphazard roofs of the city and;

c) A great “horizontal” cantilever roof that serves as an end of the building and protects the large balcony of the upper floor from the western sun wich has the view to the Bío-Bío river. In turn, emphatizes the relation with the small squate. These three bodies give the impression of detachment between them and are supported over a glazing membrane in the first two access and customer service levels. More ever, the main entrance is on axis to the church, on the other side of the square.

Cite: "Consorcio Building Concepcion / Enrique Browne" 10 Jan 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=10685>

13 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    “The glazed sectors had a ‘double skin’ with climbing plants on the North and West sides. This solution was eliminated for being expensive.”

    Confusing. In the photos it looks like the trellis-ey structure was built but no climbing plants were installed. Are we supposed to believe a few vines were cost-prohibitive? Their shade would have probably lowered air conditioning costs.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    @xing: confused aswell, i think it is a rendered image, because the text points out that the initial plan had plants on the north and west sides, which were eliminated

    @Boris: Installing plants is more then just the plants itself, the whole construction supporting the soil as the drainage and water supply of the plants is quite extensive, making it expensive. And maybe there was already sufficient shading. Shame Though, really like green buildings (if they manage to be as green as on the renders)

    Overall i think it looks really nice, detailing as far as i can see is really clean ^^

    *goes check out borja huidobro architecture*

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Things need only be as expensive and complicated as we make them. A trench, some containers and growing medium, and a bit of effort to maintain – how difficult is that? People are all gung-ho on greening everything but it’s often the first thing to be cut as soon as someone raises the slightest objection.

    The details, “planting scheme” and “planter detail” above look quite wonderful with various flowering and non-flowering species. Without them this building is just another competent modernist box with little to distinguish it from thousands of others around the world.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Raul,
    I think you have in mind the “Santiago´s Consorcio” building…but maybe you don´t know that building was actually design by Borja and Brown.

    Brown is the one intrested in combining nature and architecture

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The first image is an actual photo, but retouched in Photoshop. The original one was taken when the building was just made, and also showed some electrical cables that where removed as well…. as I ‘ve been told.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    creativity and contribute to the green city, but still very impressive and modern …….. unfortunately not exploited hygiene of the front, supporting this school all his

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