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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.106 Santiago dic. 2020 

Works & projects

Juan Luis Undurraga Integral Stimulation Center

Sebastián Irarrázaval1 

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


Faced with a society that isolates them through categories that suggest situations of temporary impairment - such as vulnerability or disability -this project builds a space in which the architecture itself integrates and stimulates the children it receives. A thick wall separates and protects them, allowing an interior with a great variety of routes, shapes, and spaces.

Keywords: coexistence; foundation; circulation; movement; project

Source: © Cristóbal Palma

Figure 1 

The Integral Stimulation Center is located in Talagante, a medium-sized town on the outskirts of Santiago. The project was commissioned by the Isabel Aninat Echazarreta Foundation, a charity organization that focuses its efforts on supporting initiatives for the care, education, and integration of vulnerable people, especially children and young people with disabilities. Through its initiatives, this institution seeks to contribute to generating positive changes that translate into a better quality of life for the community.

Source: © Cristóbal Palma

Figura 2 

Figura 3. 

In the complex - of around 3,100 m2 - there are different facilities designed to stimulate the cognition of children. Among them: classrooms, laboratories, a gymnasium, a chapel, and a heated pool. Thus, we proposed to accommodate this varied and dissimilar programs in the manner of a walled citadel that would provide children with a protected environment while allowing the coexistence of not only these diverse programmatic units but also of different forms of movement through the interior of the complex, some more hierarchical and orderly, and others more free and labyrinthine, as to encourage, with the latter, fortuitous encounters.

Source: © Cristóbal Palma

Figura 4 

The general plan is subdivided into clusters that differ from each other by their remoteness or proximity to the thermal pool, in such a way that the children with extreme difficulties (physical and cognitive) have the most advantageous position and proximity to it - due to the recurrence in its use. The design strategy aims to create variation through the following: first, through the balance between repetition and difference; second, through the alternation of full and empty spaces; and, third, through the treatment of light.

Source: © Cristóbal Palma

Figura 5 

Figure 6 Isometrics 

With regard to the first strategy, the balance is achieved through the repetition of the internal units and a perimeter that surrounds them, which sometimes exceeds the useful space to create internal patios. Regarding the second, the balance between empty and full spaces is achieved by separating the units with narrow interstitial spaces that create secondary roads, framed views, and, on occasions, unexpected circulations. This separation between units is useful because it prevents the transfer of noise between classrooms. As for the third strategy, the treatment of natural light is reflected through skylights in corridors and interior spaces, creating rhythm and variation.

Source: © Cristóbal Palma

Figure 7 

The articulation of the complex to the surrounding neighborhood occurs in two key points: at the main entrance, next to the administration, and at the entrance near the chapel. Both places are marked by towers that not only play an active role as visual points of orientation but also symbolize the civil and religious powers that stand behind the foundation.

Source: © Cristóbal Palma

Figure 8 

Juan Luis Undurraga Integral Stimulation Center

Architect: Sebastián Irarrázaval

Project contributor: Constanza Candia

Proposal contributors: Karen Zavala, María Gracia San Martín

Location: Talagante, Región Metropolitana, Chile

Client: Fundación Isabel Aninat Echazarreta

Engineering: Felipe Cardemil

Built area: 3.100 m²

Construction year: 2020

Source: © Cristóbal Palma

Figure 9 

Sebastián Irarrázaval

Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Architectural Association of London. He has taught at the School of Architecture of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile since 1993 and has been a visiting professor at various universities, including Mit and iUaV. His works have been exhibited in various exhibitions and biennials and has been widely published in specialized magazines. He has received various distinctions, including the Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale Award (2012), the RIBA International Award (2016) and the RIBA International Fellowship (2018).

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