Day 23 :: Santiago contemporánea

An architect’s map of Santiago, the Memory Museum, and more sketches.

Mid-morning I met Benjamin Oportot of 57Studio (also, co-founder of NYC-based REMOTA) for breakfast. The first thing he did was draw me a map of where I have to go in Santiago (pictured above) and we discussed a little bit about the architectural history (and general design culture) here. Most contemp0rary work done in this country seems to be on the periphery – from the time Italian-influenced modern housing projects found their way here to present day single-family, weekend houses. There are, however, a few notable institutional works to be found (Memory Museum above, in the cultural district of Matucana by Sao-Paolo based practice, Estudio America).

Downtown feels a lot like the West Loop of Chicago or Philadelphia, with an even balance of historic and new buildings; removing any signage, this could be any clean, first-world city. There are a lot of impossible-to-find projects by the likes of Mathias Klotz, that Benjamin himself have no idea how to get to. The way Benjamin discussed the state of architecture here made it clear that it was a more personal practice, less about the need to write and discuss built work, and more about simply doing it. Intuition is king, and the result is judged on the constructed space. No metaphysics or superfluous attempts at philosophical absolution.

Tomorrow, tracking down Aravena


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