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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. A Guide to Santiago's Modern Architecture: 20 Projects You Need to Know About

A Guide to Santiago's Modern Architecture: 20 Projects You Need to Know About

A Guide to Santiago's Modern Architecture: 20 Projects You Need to Know About
A Guide to Santiago's Modern Architecture: 20 Projects You Need to Know About, Villa Olímpica / Rodolfo Bravo + Jorge Poblete + Ricardo Carvallo + Pablo Hegedus, Julio Mardones + Gonzalo Mardones + Sergio González. Image © María González
Villa Olímpica / Rodolfo Bravo + Jorge Poblete + Ricardo Carvallo + Pablo Hegedus, Julio Mardones + Gonzalo Mardones + Sergio González. Image © María González

The modern movement was a key player in the cultural construction of Chile in the 20th century. Although the first projects came from the private sector, their urban and landscape principles were adopted by the modernizing project of the welfare state that began to be built after the social conflicts that exploded in the 1920s. 

During chile's industrialization process, the State's housing construction incorporated concepts such as liveability, and universal access to housing and sanitation, which were put to the test early on in the reconstruction of cities such as Chillán after the 1939 earthquake. As Chile is a country that is familiar with earthquakes, it was necessary to readjust the concepts of the modern movement to national structural requirements, that is, resizing the reinforced concrete sections, which gave them a heavier visual expression than in Brazil or Argentina.

From the daring vision of Sergio Larraín García-Moreno and Jorge Arteaga in the Oberpaur building - the first of the modern movement - to the urban visions of BVCH in the Villa Portales, or the first exercises in height in the upper middle class sectors, the modern movement has left its mark on our society and in our cities. However, only one of the projects presented here is declared a historical monument. 

In this edition of the architectural guides, we present you twenty chronologically ordered projects that reflect the evolution of the modern movement in Santiago, Chile. 

República Remodelling / Vicente Bruna + Germán Wijnant + Víctor Calvo + Jaime Perelman + Orlando Sepúlveda. Image © María González Villa Olímpica / Rodolfo Bravo + Jorge Poblete + Ricardo Carvallo + Pablo Hegedus, Julio Mardones + Gonzalo Mardones + Sergio González. Image © María González CEPAL / Emilio Duhart. Image © María González Portales Neighbourhood Unit / BVCH. Image © María González + 19

Oberpaur Building / Sergio Larraín García-Moreno + Jorge Arteaga

Oberpaur Building / Sergio Larraín García-Moreno + Jorge Arteaga. Image © Alex Rojas
Oberpaur Building / Sergio Larraín García-Moreno + Jorge Arteaga. Image © Alex Rojas

Its completely continuous horizontal spaces and its open plan demonstrated the power of reinforced concrete, making this the first project of the modern movement in Chile. However, society's reaction was not as expected: in a conversation with Teresa de Lima Campos and Humberto Eliash in 1982, Sergio Larraín recalled: "I was insulted on the street, they would say to me "with the traditions that you have, of having had a good education, to have been in Europe, then you bring these dreadful things here." 

In 2015, Maximiano Atria, the secretary general of Docomomo, warned in the national press that "by not being protected, it is subject to the decisions of its owner, being located in an area with high added value, one where we have already begun to see demolitions to build highrises."

Year: 1929
Address: Estado 202 al 250, Huérfanos 902 al 944 

The Boat Building / Sergio Larraín García-Moreno

The Boat Building / Sergio Larraín García-Moreno. Image © Manuel Albornoz
The Boat Building / Sergio Larraín García-Moreno. Image © Manuel Albornoz

Year: 1932-1934
Address: Santa Lucía 382, Santiago

Plaza de Armas Building / Sergio Larraín García-Moreno + Emilio Duhart + Jaime Sanfuentes + Osvaldo Larraín + Juan Larraín

Plaza de Armas Building / Sergio Larraín García-Moreno + Emilio Duhart + Jaime Sanfuentes + Osvaldo Larraín + Juan Larraín. Image © Santiago Nostálgico [Flickr], bajo licencia CC BY-ND 2.0
Plaza de Armas Building / Sergio Larraín García-Moreno + Emilio Duhart + Jaime Sanfuentes + Osvaldo Larraín + Juan Larraín. Image © Santiago Nostálgico [Flickr], bajo licencia CC BY-ND 2.0

During the 1950s, in Santiago's center, buildings were constructed to fill up spaces, generating a single large volume, with interior yards filled with light that were joined with their neighbors through a continuous facade and height. 

A group of five architects with postgraduate degrees from the United States were commissioned to build in an area adjacent to the Plaza de Armas by businessman Jorqe Sarquís. The architects -with fresh ideas after their years in the United States- "devoted a great amount of effort to convince [Jorge Sarquís] to accept a different model", as Armando Caroca recalls in "The Traces of Time: Entropy and Transformation in the Plaza de Armas Building of Santiago." 

The Plaza de Armas Building became the first example of tower-plate typology in Chile, replicating the logic of residential vertical volume and the horizontal commercial plate.

Year: 1954
Address: Monjitas 879, Santiago

Carozzi Industrial Complex / Emilio Duhart + Luis Mitrovic

The Carozzi Industrial Complex / Emilio Duhart + Luis Mitrovic. Image © Warko [Wikimedia Commons], bajo licencia <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0" title="Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
The Carozzi Industrial Complex / Emilio Duhart + Luis Mitrovic. Image © Warko [Wikimedia Commons], bajo licencia CC BY-SA 3.0

Year: 1961
Address: Longitudinal Sur, Kilómetro 23, Santiago

República Remodelling / Vicente Bruna + Germán Wijnant + Víctor Calvo + Jaime Perelman + Orlando Sepúlveda

República Remodelling / Vicente Bruna + Germán Wijnant + Víctor Calvo + Jaime Perelman + Orlando Sepúlveda. Image © María González
República Remodelling / Vicente Bruna + Germán Wijnant + Víctor Calvo + Jaime Perelman + Orlando Sepúlveda. Image © María González

Year: 1957-1963
Address: República 702, Santiago

Reval Building / Jorge Aguirre + Rafael Saavedra + Guillermo Geisse

Reval Building / Jorge Aguirre + Rafael Saavedra + Guillermo Geisse. Image © Manuel Albornoz
Reval Building / Jorge Aguirre + Rafael Saavedra + Guillermo Geisse. Image © Manuel Albornoz

One of the most radical formal proposals along Alameda (Santiago's main street) is this cylindrical building, which ensures its absolute independence from its neighbors. Accompanied at the first-floor level by a commercial space, the 13-story tower (originally destined as a living space) occupies a privileged place in the city's center, located next to the University of Chile's main house and the palace of La Moneda. Its unique shape remains a point of reference, and the simplicity of its aluminum façade resists with dignity the passage of time, despite the profusion of air conditioning boxes that invade it. 

Year: 1963
Address: Avenida Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins (Alameda) 1112, Santiago

Villa Olímpica / Rodolfo Bravo + Jorge Poblete + Ricardo Carvallo + Pablo Hegedus, Julio Mardones + Gonzalo Mardones + Sergio González

Villa Olímpica / Rodolfo Bravo + Jorge Poblete + Ricardo Carvallo + Pablo Hegedus, Julio Mardones + Gonzalo Mardones + Sergio González. Image © María González
Villa Olímpica / Rodolfo Bravo + Jorge Poblete + Ricardo Carvallo + Pablo Hegedus, Julio Mardones + Gonzalo Mardones + Sergio González. Image © María González

The Exequiel González Cortés Neighborhood Unit, better known as Villa Olímpica, was built between 1960 and 1963 to celebrate the 1962 World Cup. It is composed of 23 two-story blocks, 32 four-story blocks, 48 blocks of five stories, and a tower of fifteen floors for a total of 2,601 homes. The blocks are arranged in macro-blocks forming central squares destined for recreation. 

Year: 1961-1964
Address: Carlos Dittborn and Lo Encalada, in Ñuñoa

Huérfanos 1373 / Jaime Larraín + Osvaldo Larraín + Roberto Muller + Jaime Rodríguez

Huérfanos 1373 / Jaime Larraín + Osvaldo Larraín + Roberto Muller + Jaime Rodríguez. Image © María González
Huérfanos 1373 / Jaime Larraín + Osvaldo Larraín + Roberto Muller + Jaime Rodríguez. Image © María González

Year: 1964
Address: Huérfanos 1373, Santiago

The Lido Parking Building / Jaime Larraín + Osvaldo Larraín

The Lido Parking Building / Jaime Larraín + Osvaldo Larraín. Image © Manuel Albornoz
The Lido Parking Building / Jaime Larraín + Osvaldo Larraín. Image © Manuel Albornoz

Nine floors plus three underground levels make for a total of 252 parking spaces. The facade is detailed with a prefabricated concrete module coated in lead-colored micro ceramics. Puyta plastic composition. The constructive system is very similar to that of fabric, where the point is interlocked to form the fabric, entering and exiting to produce the tie, giving it body and thickness, which runs vertically through the building. 

Year: 1964
Address: Huérfanos 626

The Benedictine Monastery Chapel / Gabriel Guarda + Martín Correa

The Benedictine Monastery Chapel / Gabriel Guarda + Martín Correa. Image © Rubén Muñoz
The Benedictine Monastery Chapel / Gabriel Guarda + Martín Correa. Image © Rubén Muñoz

Year: 1964
Address: Montecassino, Las Condes

CEPAL / Emilio Duhart

CEPAL / Emilio Duhart. Image © María González
CEPAL / Emilio Duhart. Image © María González

Year: 1966
Address: Dag Hammarskjöld 3477, Vitacura

Tajamar Towers / Luis Prieto Vial + BVCH

Tajamar Tower / Luis Prieto Vial + BVCH. Image © Leonardo Benavente [Flickr], bajo licencia <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>
Tajamar Tower / Luis Prieto Vial + BVCH. Image © Leonardo Benavente [Flickr], bajo licencia CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Year: 1967
Address: Providencia 1100, Providencia

University Unit UTE (currently USACH) / BVCH

Year: 1957-1967
Address: the quadrant is limited by Portales (north), Los Tilos, Matucana, Ecuador, General Velásquez (Central Highway), El Belloto, Las Sophoras in Central Station.

Portales Neighbourhood Unit / BVCH

Portales Neighbourhood Unit / BVCH. Image © María González
Portales Neighbourhood Unit / BVCH. Image © María González

This building emerged in 1952 as part of a project by the Private Employees Pension Fund which invested surplus earnings into housing for its owners, becoming the first experimental neighborhood unit in Santiago. Popularly known as Villa Portales, the 31-hectare project consisted of large blocks of houses arranged parallel and perpendicularly, which generated large gaps between each block of houses, representing traditional city blocks in an abstract way. 1,860 homes were proposed and distributed in one or two-story houses, and single and duplex apartments in buildings that range between five and seven floors. The decision to include houses was used as a strategy to mediate the scale between the large blocks and green spaces, allowing them to reach the required densities. 

From an urban point of view, it was proposed that the blocks and houses be placed on a green surface that would function as the horizontal extension of the Quinta Normal park. A change in legislation during the government of Jorge Alessandri (1958-1964) limited the resources allocated to housing, which resulted in the discontinuity of footbridges, problems in the completion of facades, and the decision to cancel the construction of a set of collective facilities, which included offices, a commercial pergola, a market, a school, a church, a theater and a casino. 

Year: 1954-1968
Address: the quadrant is limited by Portales (north), Las Sophoras, El Belloto y General Velásquez (Central Highway) in Central Station

Villa Frei / Jaime Larraín + Osvaldo Larraín + Diego Balmaceda

Carolina Olmedo Carrasco [Wikimedia Commons], bajo licencia <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>. ImageVilla Frei / Jaime Larraín + Osvaldo Larraín + Diego Balmaceda
Carolina Olmedo Carrasco [Wikimedia Commons], bajo licencia CC BY-SA 3.0. ImageVilla Frei / Jaime Larraín + Osvaldo Larraín + Diego Balmaceda

Year: 1965-1968
Address:  the quadrant is limited by Irarrázaval (north), Ramón Cruz Montt, Grecia and Alcalde Jorge Monckeberg, in Ñuñoa

Providencia Neighbourhood Unit / Carlos Barella Iriarte + Isaac Eskenazi

Providencia Neighbourhood Unit / Carlos Barella Iriarte + Isaac Eskenazi. Image © María González
Providencia Neighbourhood Unit / Carlos Barella Iriarte + Isaac Eskenazi. Image © María González

Year: 1957-1968
Address:  the quadrant is limited by Providencia (north), Carlos Antúnez, Marchant Pereira, Humberto Bianchi, Doctor Solis de Ovando, Doctor La Sierra and Antonio Varas in Providencia

Pedro de Valdivia Building / Eduardo Cuevas Valdés + Pedro Murtinho + Carlos Silva Anguita + Héctor Durán Ortiz de Zarate + José García Huidobro + Juan Casanova

Pedro de Valdivia Building / Eduardo Cuevas Valdés + Pedro Murtinho + Carlos Silva Anguita + Héctor Durán Ortiz de Zarate + José García Huidobro + Juan Casanova. Image © Manuel Albornoz
Pedro de Valdivia Building / Eduardo Cuevas Valdés + Pedro Murtinho + Carlos Silva Anguita + Héctor Durán Ortiz de Zarate + José García Huidobro + Juan Casanova. Image © Manuel Albornoz

Year: 1965-1971
Address: Providencia 1979, Providencia

San Borja Remodelling / BVCH

San Borja Remodelling / BVCH. Image © Bruno Giliberto
San Borja Remodelling / BVCH. Image © Bruno Giliberto

Year: 1969-1974
Address: the quadrant is limited by Avenida Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins (Alameda) (north), Ramón Corvalán Melgarejo, Diagonal Paraguay and Portugal

Central Post Office Building / Boris Guiñeman + Carlos Bresciani

Central Post Office Building / Boris Guiñeman. Image via Google Street View
Central Post Office Building / Boris Guiñeman. Image via Google Street View

Year: 1970-1974
Address: Exposición 221, Estación Central

National Institute / José Llambías Merchant

Simón González B., under licence <a href="http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html">GFDL</a>. ImageInstituto Nacional / José Llambías Merchant
Simón González B., under licence GFDL. ImageInstituto Nacional / José Llambías Merchant

Year: 1960-1977
Address: Arturo Prat 33, Santiago

References

Cite: Nicolás Valencia & María Francisca González. "A Guide to Santiago's Modern Architecture: 20 Projects You Need to Know About" [Guía de arquitectura moderna de Santiago: 20 obras que debes conocer] 11 Mar 2018. ArchDaily. (Trans. Gosselin, Marina) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/889710/a-guide-to-santiagos-modern-architecture-20-projects-you-need-to-know-about/> ISSN 0719-8884