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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.91 Santiago dic. 2015

http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-69962015000300006 

WORKS AND PROJECTS

Aldo Van Eyck'S Playgrounds
Formative Studio and Representation II | Playgrounds | Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
1st semester of 2015 | Santiago, Chile

 

Fernando Pérez *

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


 

Aldo van Eyck (1918-1999), one of the most prominent members of Team X, has a peculiar life story. He was born in Utrecht. His father was a writer and his mother had Latin American family connections. He spent part of his youth in England and began his studies in the Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague. His studies continued in the eth of Zurich during World War II. Graduating with a degree in architecture in 1942, he received extensive training that opened his mind to a variety of problems including those of the African cultures.

Although towards the last third of the twentieth century a strong critique of modern architecture emerged, van Eyck remained faithful to the conviction that it was possible to reconcile the technical modernization and avant-garde art with a humanist and democratic city. In 1972, during Salvador Allende’s government in Chile, he was a jury member for the international competition to redesign the western area of downtown Santiago. On this occasion he visited to the Architecture Department of the Universidad Católica.

In 1947, guided by this conviction he began his series of playgrounds while he worked at the municipality of Amsterdam. The initiative lasted for more than two decades and hundreds of these play spaces dotted the city like a constellation. They proposed that children were protagonists of the city, freeing these spaces from their dependence on devices. As such, they are conceived as abstract configurations in which elements like bars, walls, seating, or sandboxes could be explored by both children and adults.

In this sense, the van Eyck’s playgrounds have a double advantage as triggers for a first year undergraduate studio: on one hand, they represent elemental architectural configurations that, although reduced to their minimum expression, are not trivial. On the other hand, they depict an assessment of the city and its problems; a confidence that many small interventions are capable of significantly enriching it. These ideas, this purpose, and these values offered a theoretical, practical, disciplined, and valuable content for the students beginning their training in architecture.


Fig. 1. Aldo van Eyck, Playground Antillenstraat, 1950.
Drawing by Joaquín Cárdenas


Fig. 2. Aldo van Eyck, Playground Saffierstraat, 1951.
Drawing by Marjorie Barros


Fig. 3. Aldo van Eyck, Playground Rozijnenstraat, 1952.
Drawing by Michelle Freite


Fig. 4. Aldo van Eyck, Playground Dijkstraat, 1954.
Drawing by Paula Guzmán


Fig. 5. Aldo van Eyck, Playground Weesperzyde, 1954.
Drawing by María Victoria Fernández


Fig. 6. Aldo van Eyck, Playground Mariniersplein, 1956.
Drawing by Silvana Aguilera


Fig. 7. Aldo van Eyck, Playground Dulongstraat, 1957.
Drawing by Francesca Costa


Fig. 8. Aldo van Eyck, Playground Nieuwmarkt, 1968.
Drawing by Carla Schwartz

 

Team of teachers: Fernando Pérez, Christian Bartlau, Umberto Bonomo, Francisco Quintana, Daniel Ruddoff, Nicolás Urzúa, Juan Pablo Vásquez / Teaching assistants: Juan Pablo Corral, Fernanda Energici, Juan Pablo Oyarzún, Paula Urrutia, Leonardo Valdés.


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