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2016 MCHAP

Dinamarca 399

Joaquin Velasco Rubio

Valparaiso, Chile

April 2014


Joaquin Velasco R.


David Diaz (Contributing architect) Angela Garcia (Contributing architect) Cristian Soza (Contributing architect) Flore Brochet (Contributing architect)


Inmobiliaria Melo Ltda



We conceived Dinamarca as an open space to challenge not only the idea of traditional working space but also searching for a new form of collaboration. Valparaiso is a city with a glorious prosperous past and a fragile impoverished present. Was it possible to invite local innovators to participate and work under the same roof in a declining neighborhood in order to reinvigorate the local milieu? Can Dinamarca incarnate the sign of this alternative form of joining past and future? The idea is to provide a space to help manage and make real the different visions of the creative industries. Conceived as an open cloister for independent production, Dinamarca wants to foster the recovery of an old heritage building as the expression of a professional alternative that cares about the local context. The renovation of Dinamarca 399 is based on a dialogue between tradition and technology, always respectful of the volume of the historic facade built early last century by the Danish consul Mr. Jean Thierry. The contemporary intervention plays with metal sheets of carbon steel that generate flexible and luminous spaces inside the existing structure. In his days, Jean Thierry, widely recognized as a successful doctor and benefactor of the city, ventured to combine the nobility of a double wall perimeter brick with local traditional partitions made on oak and adobillo, the Oregon pine beams and oak slates for the parquet floor. To all this he added an avant-guard constructive material: reinforced concrete. Thus Thierry anticipated a constructive solution to earthquakes.


Built in 1906, Dinamarca 399 was originally designed by the old Danish Consul, Mr. Jean Thierry who was a committed doctor and local benefactor. Located close to the city center and right next to the oldest cemeteries of Valparaiso, the house experienced a series of accidents over the years, including a number of earthquakes and a big fire. The project involved then: a) the challenge of recovering a burnt old house in a neglected part of town. Since Valparaiso was listed as World Heritage Site in 2003, most renovations have sought to recover places as a second house or as tourism exploit in trendier locations. Dinamarca nonetheless, was aimed to attract local independent innovators to work and share in a different kind of space. b) Attending to the local context, Dinamarca was conceived as a complement to the activities of the Cultural Park of Valparaiso, which opened in late 2011 in the neighboring hill. The intention was to create a platform to support dynamic cultural initiatives and to offer a meeting space focused on convivial culture. c) Offering a platform for transference of knowledge. Ultimately, dialogue has always been central to the project: holding a dialogue with the past, a dialogue with the local community, and a dialogue with neighboring cultural institutions.


Dinamarca 399 hosts today 14 offices dedicated to a number of private and public projects on architecture, computer science, design, engineering, audiovisual production, conservation and other areas. It also includes two carpentry workshops, and a typographical press plus an auditorium for 80 people which hosts seminars, conferences and other cultural events open to the public. Its daily activity provides an opportunity for meeting all kind of local agents. Since its opening in June 2014, dozens of concerts, conferences, workshops and cultural activities have attracted hundreds of visitors. Dinamarca also hosted the last two editions of the International Festival of Photography of Valparaiso and it has been featured as an exemplary project for the regional program for the development of the creative industries. Widely mentioned in the press, Dinamarca has acquired a place. But the challenge to explore new forms of collaborations remains inescapable.

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