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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.79 Santiago dic. 2011 

ARQ, n. 79 City business, Santiago, December 2011, p. 10.



City Business


Patricio Mardones H. *

* Ediciones ARQ Editor in Chief, Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Estudios Urbanos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

During 2007, Montserrat Palmer, then director of Ediciones ARQ, was working with a group of Chilean economists and architects on a book which attempted to set forth possible ground rules for the convenient and necessary interaction between two specific fields of human endeavor. The title made it clear: Arquitectura y negocios (Architecture and Business). However, just a ways into the project, it became necessary to stop and reevaluate due to the onset of the sub prime crisis because many of the arguments that the book set forth were thrown into question by what was happening in reality. The twenty-first century's most serious economic crisis was triggered by a fissure in the real estate market and, although it was not directly caused by architecture, it is certainly closely linked to it.

As time passed, it became clear that this fissure was rather a quickly accelerating crack, capable of severely affecting stock markets, banks and international markets. The book project Arquitectura y negocios needed to be redeveloped in light of the evolution of the new crisis and its authors1 decided to freeze the initiative until further notice.

Today it is possible to see how the original crisis has expanded its reach, manifesting in different ways: from the occupations in Madrid's La Puerta del Sol to Zuccotti Park in New York, from protests in Santiago to revolutions in Athens, the financial crisis and the social movements it has generated have had an effect which should be important to architects and urban designers: it has recovered the city, once again, as history's stage and revived many considerations regarding public spaces: their use and administration, the existence of physical and mental spaces as hosts for controversy and disagreement.

ARQ79 proposes a vision of the city as a place to accumulate, experience tensions, interact and, above all, as a place for opportunity. We should not forget that what we consider today to be the city at one time was an intersection between two roads, which later became a marketplace. Within this context, Luis Izquierdo's text –recovered and revised given the perspective of time, since this first project of Montserrat Palmer, Arquitectura y negocios– establishes an exact perspective from which one can calibrate the role of architects in the production and administration of resources. Meanwhile, Elke Schlack and Neil Turnbull's study analyzes a radical case in which urban land evolves into capital. The projects presented in this last edition for 2011, present a variety of ways in which architecture takes advantage of the opportunities that the urban environment offers: from recycling an obsolete structure in order to meet new necessities in Santiago to the inventive use of a series of discarded sites in São Paulo, this edition bets on the future that follows up a time of such uncertainty and change.



1.     The group involved in this book project included economists Gonzalo Edwards and Matko Koljatic and architects Luis Izquierdo, Francisco Vergara and José Rosas.

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