Aceros Chile Service Buildings
Guillermo Hevia G. + Guillermo Hevia
Guillermo Hevia García Guillermo Hevia Hernández
Francisco Carrión (Collaborating architect)
Aceros Chile S.A.
The defensive military constructions of the Atlantic Wall, built during the Second World War, have been used as an archetype and consist of a series of fortresses, blockhouses, monoliths, trenches and bunkers stationed along the entire coast. The bunker, as a typology, is a monolithic, monomaterial and massive form, of heavy concrete and with great thicknesses, that sits on a territory to defend itself. The bunker works with concentric strategies that allow to defend, repel attacks and dominate the horizon. The bunker builds punctual and horizontal relationships with the context, so as to cover it completely with the minimum openings. The bunker is the construction of an interior protected from the outside, to protect its users. In a context of peace, we have been interested in moving and decontextualizing a series of values or design strategies of the bunkers, into a new construction. It has been proposed a set of four cylindrical volumes that will host bathrooms and dressing rooms, dining room and kitchen, offices and meeting spaces. Each volume has the same configuration and measurements, in order to understand them as a sequence or repetition, which protect the public front facing the highway. The cylindrical shape ensures the construction of a closed perimeter that does not allow the addition of new elements. The interior configuration of each volume is composed of a central patio and four smaller patios with skylights. All the interior spaces are turned towards these places, generating immediate views, light and natural ventilation. The relationship with the outside is minimized, taking distance from the context.
The commission was the design of a corporate building to host a series of service programs, such as offices, meeting rooms, dining rooms, bathrooms and dressing rooms. The context is a site located in a sector that is at a turning point between an original rural use and a recent industrial use, adjacent to the south access highway of Santiago. We think that using the typical corporate building scheme, which is a sum of different programs in the same volume, is obsolete. To this is added a context without urban life, with no interest and hostile by the scale of neighboring infrastructures. It has been decided first to dissolve the unique building and build four smaller and independent volumes that respond to its specific use, achieving greater specificity, allowing each one to function and be built independently. A second premise has been to close the volumes to the outside as much as possible, turning the spaces towards a measured interior, based on small courtyards that function as an oasis. These courtyards contain gardens, being able to build an interior atmosphere that seems more propitious than the views offered by the exterior.
The relationship with the outside is built by two strategies. In two buildings will be an opening of 40 cm. height that surrounds the whole volume as a peephole, while in the other two there will be four hatches facing the smaller courtyards, which allow to look through them. These four volumes are robust constructions, more related to infrastructures or pieces of engineering, than to office buildings. They are contextualized as services of a heavy industry in a hostile context, where they could be -like the bunkers of the Atlantic coast- existing ruins in the place and previous to other constructions that begin to appear in the surroundings.