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2016 MCHAP

The Wave: Public Performance Space

Christian Hermansen Cordua

Valparaiso, Chile

December 2015


The Scarcity and Creativity Studio, AHO


Solveig Sandness (Civil Eng.)


Sitio Eriazo


The Scarcity and Creativity Studio, AHO


The Wave takes on the classical form of an amphitheater; circular or oval in plan with tiers of seats that rise from a central open arena and focus on it. It departs from the classic form in that it rises by means of a ramp that starts next to the entrance door to the site and has the double function of allowing access to the upper seats and to a second level at the back of the site. This upper level, which is six meters above street level, will be converted into an urban vegetable garden to supply the kitchen. Following the geometry of the amphitheatre there is a slanted pergola whose structure leans against a retaining wall, an outdoor shaded space called a ‘parrón’ in Spanish. When planted it will supply the site with fruit and shade for the workshop under it. Behind the seating are the ancillary facilities, a kitchen with an adobe pizza oven and a BBQ grill from which Sitio Eriazo will dispense food during performances. Although performance are free, Sitio Eriazo charge for the food they make. Workshop benches for craft activities are located in several places for both craft training and for people to develop their own projects. There are also spaces for group meetings where seminars are held. The underside of the amphitheater seating will be used for storage.


Sitio Eriazo, our client, is a collective whose aim is to recover empty, abandoned, urban spaces in the city of Valparaiso, Chile, which are currently rubbish dumps and attract vermin and delinquents. The members of the group are recent graduates from theater, art and architecture schools. The activities of the group rely on self-motivation, mutual support and a non-hierarchical organisation; they work to recover and make available to the community the urban patrimony of the city of Valparaiso which was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.“The colonial city of Valparaíso presents an excellent example of late 19th-century urban and architectural development in Latin America. In its natural amphitheater-like setting, the city is characterized by a vernacular urban fabric that clings to the hillsides that are dotted with a great variety of church spires. It contrasts with the geometrical layout of the sea-side plain. The city has well preserved its interesting early industrial infrastructures, such as the numerous ‘elevators’ on the steep hillsides.” Sitio Eriazo begins its activities in 2012 by recovering an abandoned urban site in Escalera Becker, a site which was converted into a space for the diffusion of arts & crafts. In 2014 Sitio Eriazo obtains legal status as an organization and move to an empty site in Ecuador 428, the site of The Wave project. Sitio Eriazo recycles the wastes produced by society in order to generate tools of resistance, transformed into architecture, theatre, music, circus, painting, crafts and orchards, to help build alternative modes of working and learning which will alter our relationship to the environment.


Chile’s recent economic history has been largely shaped by Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. Since his fall in 1990 the government has been relatively stable and it’s residents have achieved one of the highest standards of living in Latin America. This economic growth has catapulted the country into membership of the rich nations’ club. At the same time the OECD has declared Chile as the member with the most unequal economic distribution amongst its population. Adding to this problem is the fact that Chile’s expenditure on social services is comparatively small. Of the ten countries in the world with the widest gap between their rich and poor only Mexico spends less in social services that Chile. Inequality has been most evident in education resulting in the student protests between 2011 and 2013, which became internationally known as the Chilean Winter. Education isn’t the only problem, Chile’s industries are run by a few oligopolies. Sitio Eriazo, our client for The Wave project, is a collective whose aim is to replace Chile’s neo-liberal structure, which they consider responsible for the extreme inequality. Their proselytizing is carried out through performances, theatre, puppets, circus, music and seminars. Since the opening of The Wave there has been an active programme of performances and seminars to further the aims of Sitio Eriazo. As all activities of Sitio Eriazo have an open political agenda they are not universally acclaimed, however, the local community, who recognize the unselfish motivations behind their activities, has lauded their efforts.

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