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The Designers Putting Chile At The Forefront Of Architecture

The creations of Smiljan Radić, LAND Arquitectos, and Alejandro Aravena have made Chile the new hub of forward thinking architecture.

Akil Wingateby Akil Wingate
LAND Arquitectos, Rambla House.

If you’ve ever needed an excuse to hop on a plane and jaunt to Chile for a wild, eye-popping excursion, now is the time. Chile is rich in tastes and sounds, flavors and colors, sensations that pop and a spicy sense of détente fit for anyone wanting to take the edge off a getaway vacation. But vacations aside, Chile is no mere tourist trap. The country is home to some of the most innovative and daring urban designs, and is being hailed as the new hub of forward thinking architecture. This year promises to only cement that public opinion with a new push in design projects from a host of veterans and rising Chilean stars.

 

Smiljan Radić

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Smiljan Radić, Serpentine Pavilion.

Chilean architect and design star Smiljan Radić has made waves in the industry for a number of years now, with the New York Times recently dubbing him a rock star. To his credit, he designed the fourteenth Serpentine Pavilion, a temporary installation in London’s Kensington Gardens rendered out of glass-reinforced plastic, housing a cafe and a space for live events ranging from poetry and theatre to film screenings. It was supported on more than 62 tons of quarry stone and took six weeks to erect. Radić also erected a house reminiscent of Chilean farm houses. Covering more than 1,600 square meters, Radic’s take on a tenant house is boldly modern and fresh, with angular lines to perimeter walls, a courtyard framing a single tree, and large picture windows offering a view of the landscape. He also renovated the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, endowing it with a 450 square meter showroom to enlarge its space.

LAND Arquitectos

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LAND Arquitectos, Rambla House.

LAND Arquitectos is a name you surely won’t forget. The design firm resurrected the magical “Rambla House”, located on the central coast of Chile in the Zapallar region. Covering nearly 600 square meters of space, the house sits on concrete beams and projects over the sloping edge of a cliff. With its huge windows peeking into its luxurious interiors and out onto the rough open sea, the “Rambla House” is just one of LAND’s many captivating designs. The firm’s “Catch A View House” is equally stunning and bold in scope. 

Alejandro Aravena

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Alejandro Aravena, “Half Houses” in Iquique.

Alejandro Aravena is this year’s recipient of the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s most prestigious award. Chile’s native son has definitely made good on heightening the relevance of the country’s architecture again, whether working alone or with the group ELEMENTAL. In April, he’ll receive a $100,000 prize to be awarded in New York at the United Nations. Some of his work has included what he calls “half houses” –  tiny houses built in Iquique, Chile on modest budgets for people with equally modest means. The houses provide all the essentials home owners will need but leaves them room to add to their homes as time allows. Further, Aravena helped designed Constitucion’s cultural center in the wake of the 2010 Chilean earthquake and the new Shanghai building for Novartis.