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2016 MCHAP

Physics Department Building - University of Tarapaca

Marsino Arquitectura

Arica, Chile

July 2014


Jorge Marsino Prado Maria Ines Buzzoni Garnham


Claudio Hinojosa Torra (Structural Engineer) Felipe Diaz Contardo (Photographer)


Tomas Sanz / Director of Department of Works and Project Management at University of Tarapacá


Felipe Diaz Contardo


Contemporary education concepts, characterized by globalization and complexity, require an interaction between fluid and flexible spaces, delivering a narrative continuity of multiple entries and circulation routes that stimulate the friction between its inhabitants. Thus, the project is conceived as a building that invites users to walk through it, a "promenade architecturale" with an upwards circulation that offers dynamic and constantly changing perspectives, but at the same time, allows the visitors to understand easily the whole building and visually integrates the campus.


The Physics Department building is located in a coastal plain at the foot of a hill, in northest Chilean city, Arica. The environment is characterized by intense noon radiation, abundant morning mist, and airborne desert dust brought by the ocean winds from the southwest during the afternoon. The idea of "wrapping" the building with a textile mesh has two main environmental purposes: to protect users and laboratory equipment from radiation and dust, and to moderate indoor temperatures by controlling direct sunlight. The textile mesh concept, inspired by locally produced mats, has also a cultural meaning. In that sense, the project claims to taking over the local ethos through "appropriate architecture".


Considering this project as an opportunity of finding a solution for the isolation of an existing building, standardizing its evacuation routes and solving the level difference between the project site and the main circulation axis throughout the campus, the Physics Department Building works as a connective operation, such as the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts in Boston or the Dr. Curutchet House in La Plata. The building in use has been integrated to the campus, renewing the area where it is located and promoting the interaction between students and academics.

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