Faculty of Administration and Economics FAE Building - University of Santiago de Chile
Santiago de Chile, Chile
Jorge Marsino, Maria Ines Buzzoni, Maria Francisca Valenzuela.
Maria Francisca Valenzuela Rasmussen, Rene Lagos Engineers, Felsenhardt, Zuñiga, Valenzuela, Oriana Ponzini Iliminacion, Santabuzzo Diseño
Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Pablo Casals Aguirre
Prefiguring a volume assembled by an open "plate" for undergraduates and a controlled access "tower" for postgraduates, we proposed to the university authority to continue exploring our practice on Parent's "oblique function" as the central idea of the project.
Inhabiting the central space as a continuous community promenade, a spiral ambulatory, where the ramped corridors no longer simply lead to places, but are instead places, as Careri says, that concatenate transparent study spaces with socialization spaces in a sequenced manner, beginning in the new access plaza, it continues through the central patio, the terraces and balconies until reaching the roof garden to observe the campus, the city and territory from the 7th or 13th floor.
Highlighted by vibrant colors according to the palette of the chilean muralist Mono Gonzalez, the ramp and mechanical devices for vertical transportation (elevators and escalators) that at FAE evolved from efficient devices to face exclusion to transformative elements of the educational space. Elements of a performative scenography that promotes dynamic, free and playful or unexpected actions such as the transit of bicycles around the central courtyard.
The heterogeneous or hybrid image of the FAE building tries to establish a dialogue with the urban context that surrounds us, incorporating popular elements such as the commercial "snail building", the pedestrian bridge and the circus tent, in the same way, the non-finite image of the building or in transformation process that admits future modifications and additions, are part of an adaptive strategy and reflection of our mestizo origin.
As a corollary to the student mobilizations and social protests that began in 2006 throughout Chile (the Penguin Revolution), demanding free education with the highest standards, public universities developed plans to expand coverage from the standpoint that education is a social right (not a consumer good).
To increase access to classrooms weighting applicants solely by their skills and virtues and not by their economic means, required developing new and better infrastructure to arrange both for excellence and additional enrollment.
The University of Santiago de Chile commissioned the task of creating an emerging urban landmark behind the corner of Av. Alameda and Matucana, to house 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students from the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences in a differentiated manner in a vertical building.
The building, which reached 13 stories with a floor area of 13,000 m2 (140,000 sf), sits in a parking lot on the outskirts of the campus of a 30-hectare (74 acre) university campus, nestled in the densely populated populated worker commune of Central Station, designed in the 50s by the Bresciani, Valdés, Castillo and Huidobro office, which is considered an important architectural heritage and is located in front of the old central train station still in use.
The commissioned request was that the new building marks a change in the chilean and latin american standards of university infrastructure, specifying that the University, an institution 170 years old, characterized by providing opportunities to working-class families, would lead to promote a new educational practice.
If it is up to Architecture to shape the acts of man, we propose that the main act to be developed in the FAE building, in order to facilitate the comprehensive training and creative development of its inhabitants, be “wandering around a patio” peripathetically, facilitating the formation of "good citizens" in the Aristotelian sense, capable of assuming long-term leadership positions in the state and society.
Apart from the literature on favorable physiological changes experienced by the human body in the teaching-learning process of walking and the cognitive benefits generated by increased blood flow, our experience of improvement in academic performance and school coexistence recorded in 05 snail schools designed and built since 2004 in a patient project search, endorsed our proposal for this university building.
Even though the restricted use of the building due to the pandemic will have to let the southern summer pass before it becomes fully operational and records its performance, since the end of its work it has generated great interest in the university community, becoming the icon of the university image: inclusive, free and quality.
Between the project and the work, the use of the tower was modified to house an innovation hub, the construction of the pedestrian bridge that linked it to the old building was postponed, and the projected neutral materials changed to primary colors as a reflection of the zeitgeist in the Chile of the social outbreak, making clear the adaptive spirit of the building.