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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.90 Santiago ago. 2015 


120/Valparaíso pavillion


Sebastián Irarrázaval *(1)

* Professor, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


A pavilion that needed to be iconic enough in order to become the symbol of a celebration, while remaining adequately ductile to be easily dismantled and relocated. An inflatable sphere and a foundation based on the circular repetition of a folding wooden element solve the project’s problem, allowing this pavilion to be assembled in Santiago and Valparaíso, changing its name but not its architectural features.

Keywords: Wood, inflatable structure, exhibition, architecture, Chile.

The commission consisted in developing a pavilion to celebrate the 120 years since the foundation of the School of Architecture of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, which was first to be installed in the faculty’s campus and later moved to other locations to be reused as an exhibition space. In this sense the commission had two main aspects: first, a material concern associated with its physical implementation, and second, the immaterial or symbolic aspect connected to the question for the proper type of space to celebrate a reunion or solemn act such as this.

Regarding the first, the implementation needed to comply with the following requirements: firstly, that it could be assembled and disassembled in many different locations, and secondly, that it could host conferences and exhibitions.

In response to these needs, the project was designed based on the repetition of a wooden modular unit, 5 meters high, which like a folding beach chair could be deployed for use and then folded for transportation and storage. In order to generate on one side, a steady and stable space and on the other, to create the necessary conditions to host conferences and exhibitions, this module was repeated 36 times around a rotation axis so that a ring-shaped podium of 14 meters in diameter and 5 meters high is produced, containing a circular corridor for exhibitions towards the exterior, and a circular bench for conferences towards the interior. The cover of this wooden ring is provided by a PVC inflatable sphere with a diameter of 12 meters which, while covering and illuminating the space, acts as a sign, announcing the pavilion from a distance.

Isometric cut. N. S.

Isometric without sphere. N. S.

Lectern module. N. S.

Pavilion under construction. Campus Lo Contador, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
© Sebastián Irarrázaval

Campus Lo Contador, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, December 2014 – March 2015
© Felipe Fontecilla

Above: Front elevation access.
Below: Section
Published scale 1: 200

Left: Ground level +2,10 m.
Right: Ground level +5,5 m, without sphere.
Published scale 1: 200


In regard to the symbolic character of the proposal, the circular shape reminds of the solemn sense of community that has been forged over these 120 years of existence at the School of Architecture UC, and makes explicit reference to a long tradition of building monuments by using platonic shapes.

After the celebration of the 120 years and in the context of the XIX Chilean Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism, the pavilion, this time under the name of Valparaíso Pavilion, was moved to the ruins of the Subercaseaux Palace in Valparaíso to host 64 student and teachers’ projects from the Schools of Architecture of the Universidad de Chile, Universidad de Valparaíso, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, who in collaboration proposed a common view for the waterfront of the city of Valparaíso.

120 years Escuela de Arquitectura, Santiago

Campus Lo Contador, Santiago Site plan
Published scale 1: 1.000

120 years School of Architecture celebration.
© Omar Faúndez

Campus Lo Contador, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, December 2014 – March 2015
© Felipe Fontecilla

120 years School of Architecture celebration.
© Omar Faúndez

Valparaíso pavillion

Palacio Subercaseaux, Valparaiso Site Plan
Published scale 1: 1.000

Palacio Subercaseaux, Valparaíso, Chile. April 2015.
© Felipe Fontecilla

Pavilion under construction. Palacio Subercaseaux, Valparaíso, Chile.
© Sebastián Irarrázaval

120 / Valparaíso pavillion

Architect: Sebastián Irarrázaval
Contributor: Macarena Burdiles
Commission: Commission Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Content production: Francisco Quintana, Trinidad Sánchez
Wood Structure manufacturing: Ema Dünner, Daniel Ortiz, Lorenzo Fuentes. Not S.A.
PVC sphere manufacturing: Ficticios Gigantes S.A.
Materials: structure composed of 36 wood lectern modules and pvc inflatable sphere
Built area: 154 m²
120 yeras EAUC
Location: Campus Lo Contador, Escuela de Arquitectura Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Date: December 2014 – March 2015
Assembly: Ema Dünner, Daniel Ortiz, Lorenzo Fuentes. Not S.A.
Valparaíso Pavillion
Location: Palacio Subercaseaux, Barrio Puerto, Valparaíso, Chile
Date: Abril 2015
Assembly and dismantling: Lautaro Ojeda, Gonzalo Herrera, Esteban Alvarado, Nicolás Cuadra, Fidel Olfos, Gonzalo Fernández, Mauricio Ortiz, Carola Molina and students team, Escuela de Arquitectura, Universidad de Valparaíso

1. Sebastián Irarrázaval | Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1991. Graduate studies in Urban Planning, Architectural Association, London, 1993. Young outstanding architect award, AOA, 1999. His work has been exhibited in Santiago, Barcelona, Boston, Rotterdam and Venice. He has been guest professor at the Central University of Caracas, University of Arizona and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Since 1994 he is professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

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