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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.92 Santiago abr. 2016 


The Wave
Public Performance Space
Valparaíso, Chile, 2015


Christian Hermansen Cordua *(1), Solveig Sandness *(2)

* Scarcity and Creativity Studio (SCS), Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Oslo, Noruega.


Hidden in a vacant lot behind a continuous facade in the hills of Valparaiso, a team from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design created a unique space, a communal open theater. Unlike similar operations, architecture here does matter. The project gives a different meaning to the commission and the site, proposing a model of urban intervention that could perfectly be replicated elsewhere.

Keywords: Valparaíso, recovery, theater, university, Oslo

Valparaíso cityscape.

First performance.

Sitio Eriazo, our client for The Wave project, is a collective whose aim is to replace Chile’s neo-liberal structure, through performances, theatre, puppets, circus, music and seminars. In this way, they recycle the wastes produced by society in order to generate tools of resistance, transformed into architecture, theatre, music, circus, painting, crafts, and education, to help build alternative modes of working and learning that will alter our relationship to the environment.

When they approached us in late 2014 to help develop the site in Ecuador 428 we did not understand the overall objectives of the collective. We assumed that, being mostly theatre school graduates, they needed an amphitheater where to perform. Operating from the other side of the world, and having only sporadic digital contact, it was only during the month spent in Valparaiso jointly building the project that we realized the full extent of the collective’s social activities.

Floor plan
Published scale 1: 250


To what extent this misinterpretation affected the project is hard to say. Had we had the understanding of Sitio Eriazo that we have now it is likely that we would have responded differently. At the same time architecture, as an artifice, emerges not only from a direct response to client requirements, but has goals of its own, which interact in complex ways with the particularities of the task at hand.

The Wave takes on the classical form of the amphitheater, adding a rising access ramp which serves both the seating and the upper level of the site, to become a vegetable garden. A slanting ‘parron’ provides shade for the workshop tables underneath. Behind the seating are the ancillary facilities, a kitchen with an adobe pizza oven and a bbq grill from which Sitio Eriazo dispense food during performances, workshop benches, a toilet, and areas for group meetings.

Detail of a seating module
N. S.

Isometric showing elements
N. S.

Architects: Christian Hermansen Cordua, Solveig Sandness / Collaborators: A. Gran Berild, E. De Meersman, T. Glesne, T. Hancock, M. Jakobsen, H. Jonathan Lien, P. A. Lucas, C. Martins, M. Sønvisen Moe, I. Gjerde Nordstrøm, R. E. Osbak, F. Tung Sze, S. Træen, C. Trivino Massó, V. Vanberg, Y. Zhang / Location: Ecuador 428, Valparaíso, Chile / Client: Sitio Eriazo Structural engineering and construction SCS / Materials: Pine softwood / Budget: CLP$ 12.000.000; USD$ 17,500 / Built surface: 130 m² / Site surface: 231 m² / Project year: 2014-2015 / Construction year: 2015

1. Christian Hermansen Cordua | | Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1970. Master in Architecture and Urban Design, Washington University, 1974. Has taught at Kingston School of Architecture, Strathclyde University (Scotland) and the Mackintosh School of Architecture Glasgow School of Art, where he was Director of Post Graduate Studies. He has lectured in America, Europe and Asia. Has published several books, among them Manifestoes and Transformations in the Early Modernist City and contributed to journals, books and exhibitions in Europe and America. Since 2004 he teaches at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), where he leads the ‘Scarcity and Creativity Studio’ (SCS).

2. Solveig Sandness | | Engineer, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway, 1994. Master in Structural Engineering. Worked as an engineer between 1994-2004; this work included the development of structural analysis software, design of sub-sea structures for the oil industry and structural design for diverse buildings. Since 2004 has been assistant professor at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, where she teaches both in graduate and under graduate studies, among them, the ‘Scarcity and Creativity Studio’ (SCS).

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