UC Architecture School Building
Santiago de Chile, Chile
Juan Acevedo Kallens (Engineering) Paulina Courard (Landscape Design) Pablo Levine (Associate Architect) Rafaela Behrens (Collaborator) Sarah Kutz (Collaborator)
Mario Ubilla Sanz
The constructed volume was reduced to privilege the space between buildings and the relation between the campus, the neighborhood and the geography. This reduction was oriented in section, this way the first floor was compacted leaving it as a fluid pedestrian path and the rooftop as a big public terrace. The decision of bringing the most public program, the auditorium, to the superior level, can be considered as a plus to the building as it introduces a novelty: conquer the level where geography appears as a public level As a consequence of this reduction of the constructed area, the volume results in a friendly structure with his residential and patrimonial scale neighbors. The arrival to the ground has also minimized its print, liberating this level for a transparent path and living of the place. The care for trees and the use of the foliage as a part of the context talks about the sensibility of the proposal with the circumstances. All this is led by the simplicity of resources. It is a synthetic building, capable of summarize the sense of the reality and originality of its environment.
The building of the Architecture School of Universidad Católica de Chile is emplaced on the south corner of Lo Contador campus, by the large patrimonial house. This new building is the result of a public contest. The building consists of a double height volume of laminated wood, which lies lightly over a concrete plinth. The wood structure of columns and beams is arranged in a modulated system, which facilitates the stages of transportation, preassemble and installation of the parts that conformed the structure, taking advantage of the dimensions of the boards that form its floor frame. The complete volume saves a span of 21 meters between supports; leaving the west side with a 9-meter corbel which leaves a new hallway of access to the Campus. This volume contains the professors offices, releasing the first floor and the ceiling to display the programs that will support university life in the building, providing this way a ground-level covered patio, and an auditorium in the superior terrace which is at the same time a viewpoint to the surrounding treetops of the neighborhood. The project pursuit to be sustainable since its origin and in all its stages, being a wood structure, which is a noble and renewable resource with a small carbon footprint, and its time of preassembling and installation reduces the impact over the neighborhood and the environment.
The building defies the use of wood in a new scale in the Chilean context, where it is commonly used mainly as a residential project material. Because of its public condition and being part of an Architecture School, it is expected that the building allows to encourage new ways of using wood and that it has a resonance in the formation of new students that can be in contact with this kind of material since the beginning of their careers. The building redefines the internal circulations of the campus and its relation with the street, generating a transformation from a hermetic system to a porous filter were the academic life is perceived from the exterior and the local can freely traverse from the access and ascend by the façade to the auditorium in the public rooftop.