- Collaborators: Jorge Lazo, María Florencia Ormeño, Fernando Pedreros, Eduardo Aburto, Guillermo Medina.
- Country: Chile
Text description provided by the architects. Infinity Bench is an installation developed for the Alejandro Merino Botanical Garden at the Enrique Molina Garmendia School in Concepción, in the south of Chile. Its goal is the reappraisal and restoration of this space, consigned until now, to just being a generous front garden of an emblematic city building.
Since it can be seen from the street, it is widely known for its scale and the size of the trees it harbors in a dense area of the city, appearing as a small forest trapped inside the metropolis.
The Botanical Garden runs along Anibal Pinto street, right in the heart of Concepción, just a few meters from Ecuador Park, one of the city’s most important green areas. There is only a winding path there, which in a kind of diagonal divides the garden into two, from where it is possible to see different bush and tree species planted at different times and with no clear organization. This turns the garden into just a transit area for students and teachers who follow the existing path, or for those walking along the street, a beautiful backdrop that breaks up their journey. The garden is laid in a 22x47 meter rectangle, with around 60 randomly placed trees.
For the restoration, after recording the nostalgia and possible uses among the high school community, a continuous circular bench was proposed for the garden, some 14 meters in diameter, formed by a systematic repetition of 67 wooden modules, that is only broken by the existing path, placed carefully between the trees to create a new classroom amid the landscape, leaving the valuable natural heritage of the place unaltered.
It is expected that classes, workshops and student gatherings take place there, reintegrating it into the school’s daily life and turning it into an iconic object, making this garden visible within the local “Penquista” (name given to people living in the city of Concepción) community.