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2016 MCHAP

Violeta Parra Museum

Cristián Undurraga

Santiago, Chile

October 2015


Cristián Undurraga


Pablo Lopez (Design Team) Soledad Fernandez (Design Team)


Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes Fundación Violeta Parra


Roland Halve Felipe Diaz Contardo


One of the main objectives of the project besides creating a memorable interior was to take advantage to create a vital public space for the city (this space will consolidate definitive with the construction in front of the Museum, with the Argentinian Cultural Center which will begin in 2016). Both, the Violeta Parra Museum and the Argentina Cultural Center, assume the linear unfolding of their façade as an urban strategy, placing between of them the mission to give way to a pedestrian path. The compression and expansion of the façades across the way give shape to a silhouette whose variable width exerts in traffic a pause in time. Within this course, the access to the Museum is defined by a concavity. The façade of the building, which faces south, is composed of double-crystal panels where the interior chamber holds a willow knitting, allowing, on the one hand, the pass of a sift light, and on the other hand, an intimate and protected interior. The willow knitting heralds, from the urban space, the commitment of the artist with craftworks and popular art. While the length of the exterior course is related to the horizontal, the interior one becomes vertical. There, the convex and concave curves take us to a rich and complex microcosm that forecasts the multiple realities that Violeta Parra witnessed. At both ends of the tour, the “anchor” programs have been set. A small 100-person-capacity auditorium was placed facing west, while the exhibition rooms were positioned facing east.


This museum is erected as a tribute to Violeta Parra (1917 – 1967), one of the most complete and notorious artists to have ever been born in Chile. The multiplicity of her facets (performed as musician, poet, visual artist, potter, popular researcher, obstinate people protector—an irrepressible artist as a whole) make her life and works be a sort of cultural kaleidoscope when different corners and infinite reflections meet. The museum is located in the San Borja neighborhood, on the edges of the historical center of Santiago, an urban area that has walked from a compact city model toward a city of isolated towers. The site, a wide 95x44 meter rectangle, is deployed between two relevant streets for the urban tissue of the city, with Vicuña Mackenna Avenue (Eastern limit) as one of the structural axis of Santiago. Because of to the width of the land, two cultural programs were proposed: the Violeta Parra Museum and the Argentina Cultural Center. However, the commissions pertaining to both projects arose from different client who found themselves at odds with time. Both designs went to the Undurraga+Deves workshop, which facilitated a coherent proposal where the focus of both projects was the emphasis on the creation of an urban space, a pedestrian walkway that connects the two streets. The Argentina Embassy is found close to the southern border of the land, and it shares ground with the place where the future Argentina Cultural Center which will begin construction during 2016.


Violeta Parra is by far the most popular artist of Chile. She is in the heart of the people. The project has turned, in a few months, into a consolidated and relevant cultural focus within the city of Santiago. This, together with the future Argentina Cultural Center (which is expected to begin constructions in 2016) will become the gate of the most important cultural neighborhood of the capital of Chile. A few steps away are the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center (GAM), the Visual Arts Museum (MAVI) and the Fine Arts Museum.

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