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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.99 Santiago ago. 2018 

Works & projects

SC&T building

José Rosas1 

Philippe Blanc2 

1Profesor Titular, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

2Profesor Asistente, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


Even before Giedion (1952) highlighted Maillard's bridges, the raw aesthetics of infrastructure captured the attention of architects. Usually, however, this interest led to 'overdesign' structures so that it could also support the symbolic and aesthetic 'loads' of the building. Through the simple decision of turning the structural and programmatic requirements into the plastic expression of the building - without overdoing it - this project manages to transform engineering into architecture, akin to the infrastructures of the early twentieth century.

Keywords: infrastructure; engineering; concrete; structure; education

Source: © Philippe Blanc

Figura 1 

The Science and Technology building (Sc&T) seeks to accommodate the growing space demands of the Faculty of Engineering at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. It is a slab-shaped building perpendicular to the Raúl Devés Building, forming an access plaza in the northeast corner. This plaza proposes an order based on levels, which integrates the undergrounds as flexible connection spaces between buildings. The building draws a new border to the east and an inner courtyard in between the labs’ volume and the Student Hall.

Source: © Philippe Blanc

Figure 2 

Source: © Philippe Blanc

Figure 3 

This new order is partially present in the hall on the first underground, with broad structure-free dimensions, great height and the possibility of serving other activities in the future. On the first floor, visible from both sides of the building, the cafeteria is located. On the second floor are the auditoriums, accessible from an open corridor-a sort of elevated street-to the west. The corridors’ generous width and height allows for casual encounters and various situations protected by vertical sun shading elements on the west façade. The third level hosts classrooms in different formats (workshops and lectures). The fourth level corresponds to the basic science labs (physics, chemistry and biology). Levels 5, 6 and 7 correspond specifically to the School of Engineering, which is revealed in the exterior break of the east façade. This operation allows ordering programs of different sizes without renouncing to the structure’s regularity.

Figure 4 Ground floor. Published scale 1: 500 

Figure 5 Plan level +4,40 m. Published scale 1: 500 

Figure 6 Plans levels +9,40 m and +13,40 m. Published scale 1: 500 

The building-a volume composed of open floor plans measuring 72 x 18 meters-is understood as a load transfer system that frees the interior spaces from structure by carrying the weight to the façade through post-tensioned beams. A set of seismic isolators allows the building to gently ‘perch’ on the modular order of the underground levels.

Source: © Philippe Blanc

Figure 7 

By bringing the linings and windows inward, the structure becomes visible. Thus, the sequence of 20 structural frames becomes the building’s plastic expression. This 'infrastructural' logic enhances the capabilities of reinforced concrete and proposes a virtuous fit between architecture and engineering.

Figure 8 Section AA. Published scale 1: 250 

Source: © Philippe Blanc

Figure 9 

Source: © Philippe Blanc

Figure 10 

SC&T building

Architects: José Rosas, Philippe Blanc

Office Partner: Paula Orta

Associate Architect preliminary stage: Fernando Pérez O.

Collaborators: Arquitectura DESE (Rocío Ballesteros, Juan Eduardo Ojeda, Daniela Oroquieta, Sara Kutz)

Location: Campus San Joaquín, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Client: Dirección de Infraestructura UC, Escuela de Ingeniería, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Structural engineering: SIRVE (Francisca Pedraza, Emiliano Pinto)

Building contractor: Constructora CYPCO (Rodrigo Rosas, Paloma Luna)

Built Surface: 21.136 m2

Project year: 2012-2014

Construction year: 2014-2017

Photographs: Philippe Blanc

* José Rosas

Architect, Master in Regional Urban Planning IEU, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (1976, 1984). Doctor in Architecture, ETSAB, UPC, Spain, 1986. Has published articles in ARQ and Revista 180(Chile), and book chapters in Sudamérica Moderna (Santiago 2015), Concurso Palacio Pereira (Santiago, 2014), Ciudad y Vivienda en América Latina 1930-1960 (with Fernando Pérez, 2012). Along with Josep Parcerisa, has authored the book El canon republicano y la distancia cinco mil (Santiago, 2015) and edited, along with Margarita Greene and Luis Valenzuela, of Santiago proyecto urbano (Santiago, 2011). Researcher at several Fondecyt and Pastoral UC projects, his research has focused on urban design and housing problems, specifically in the city of Santiago. Rosas is Tenured Professor of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies, and Director of the Doctorate in Architecture and Urban Studies of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

** Philippe Blanc

Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1999. Doctor in Architecture and Urban Studies, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2010. Since 2010 he works as an architect and as a photographer. Author of the photographs in the book Patrimonio Arquitectónico uc. Fragmentos de una Obra (Santiago, 2016) and the exhibition of photographs about it. He has exhibited his photographs at the Sala Vitra (2013), Corporación Cultural de Las Condes (2015), Centro de Extensión UC (2016) and the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral GAM (2016). Blanc is Associate Professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

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