Text description provided by the architects. The Center of Traditions is a cultural and social operation itself that locates on Lo Barnechea Avenue, the main street of the Town Lo Barnechea, and belongs to the commune with the same name. It is found in the Andean foothills of the eastern area of the city Santiago de Chile, a place where families with high economic contrast live.
The building has spaces and infrastructure to promote community encounter and cultural heritage. The cultural project aims to benefit more than 6000 students from municipal and subsidized schools in the commune, in addition to the 13 folk groups, that aim rescuing the roots of Lo Barnechea. For this, the building houses spaces for theater workshops, visual arts, craftworks, handiworks, music, film, literature, board games, ecology and environment, dance, arts and traditional cuisine, among others.
Placed in a corner lot, the cultural center was planned to open to the public roadway, creating an outdoor amphitheater which is the extension of the public space, where the acts and cultural events are exposed to pedestrians; and a large hall that runs through the whole building, connecting levels and enhancing the encounter inside of it.
The building was designed in reinforced concrete, achieving large open spaces, so as to shelter and incorporate the public space; with glazed facades open to the street, showing the inner life of the cultural center like a shop window and hermetic facades respecting the privacy of neighboring houses.
The structure was reinforced with tubular steel columns, which were arranged without apparent order; traverse the whole inner height of the building, giving it measure and a playful character. The opposition of open (glazed) and closed (hermetic) facades also show the position of the project regarding capture of natural light and sunshine: they are open facades which allow lighting the building (facing south), and hermetic facades to protect it from the sun (facing north and west).
With a total area of 1,425 m2, the cultural center has two levels above the natural ground level and two underground levels. The use of subsoil (the "sixth facade") can extend the available surface (being the ground increasingly getting scarce), creating bright and airy rooms through light courtyards and the main hall. Within the underground enclosures is the main room, which is located under the amphitheater, allowing great inner height and adequate acoustics for music, dance, etc.
The entire building has been finished in white, with the intention of enhancing the natural light inside the building, and to be a milestone and a support (a blank page) to the city, in order to develop the artistic and cultural skills of residents from Lo Barnechea.
"This center is very symbolic, because of our neighbors, who have always had a very strong interest in matters of identity related to tradition and intangible cultural heritage. Therefore, this building represents the value and importance that we want to give to traditional culture." Felipe Guevara, Lo Barnechea´s Mayor.
"The work performed between social bases, communal and private authorities, that echoed our needs, has been transcendental, and today, the dream of the house, where Cultural Traditions of our dear Lo Barnechea can develop, makes real." María Eugenia Cifuentes, President of the group "Cultural Traditions.”