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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.106 Santiago dic. 2020 

Works & projects

Coexisting in Architectures that Coexist. Front Building and Covered Patio in the UC Extension Center, Campus Oriente, Providencia, 2019

José Quintanilla-Chala1 

Fernando Pérez-Oyarzun2 

1 Profesor asociado, Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Estudios Urbanos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

2 Profesor titular adjunto, Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Estudios Urbanos, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


The articulation between the new and the preexisting is a permanent dilemma for architecture. The usual responses - formal mimesis or radical contrast - entail possibilities at opposite ends that do not ensure the coexistence of different architectures. This project is committed to an alternative strategy, to simply let the preexistence be and add only what is missing: a façade, a roof, and an underground program.

Keywords: coexistence; materials; university; continuity; project

Source: © Felipe Fontecilla

Figure 1 

Making the Facade Building and the roof coexist with the traditional architecture of the campus was one of the most demanding professional challenges of the commission. How to relate this new construction with the neo-Romanesque architecture of a building constructed in the 1930s?

Figure 2 Construction site general plan. Legend: 1. Academic Building of the Faculty of Arts; 2. UC Extension Center. 

Source: © Felipe Fontecilla

Figure 3 

For reasons both practical and of principle, any stylistic mimesis was discarded. Instead, a material and dimensional empathy with the old building was chosen. The project by Juan Lyon and Luis Azócar is, constructively, a transitional work, combining thick walls of simple masonry with concrete slabs, columns, and arches. Thus, the presence of concrete is much greater than one might think for a building traditionally linked to the materiality of brick. That was, therefore, the first rule of coexistence: the building would basically be made of concrete and brick, which would be used in its traditional version, the same as the old walls. To this material affinity, we ascribed a set of measurements present in the complex, generating a mensural resonance that established secret bonds of coexistence between the old and the new.

Figure 4 Left: building A second floor plan; center: building A first floor plan; right: patio plan. 

Figure 5 Left: section AA; center: underground floor plan; right: section BB. 

The project was developed in two phases. The first, called the East Front Building, enclosing the southeast courtyard of the campus, was the initial commission. Once that was already designed, came the commission to cover the patio, which had been closed for decades by a transparent fence, allowing visual continuity from the inside to the outside of the building and even to the street and the surrounding neighborhood. Beyond the legitimacy that arose from standing on the original traces of the architects who had preceded us and had planned a pavilion on the site of a similar scale to ours, this visual continuity constituted a spatial virtue that had to be cared for. Hence, the new body was conceived as a bridge that allowed total transparency on the first level, covering a span of almost 30 meters. A large brick lattice is the dominant element of the facade.

Source: © Felipe Fontecilla

Figure 6 

The patio’s roof was conceived as an autonomous piece. A kind of four-legged table. The entry of light and sun was carefully measured to achieve a suitable climate. A semi-translucent folded ceiling enriches and varies beaming light.

Figure 7 Section CC 

Source: © Felipe Fontecilla

Figure 8 

The resulting project is located in a smaller fraction of the campus but aspires to a more radical transformation of its architectural texture. It generates new continuities avoiding the excessive division of the courtyards, characteristic of its original condition as a school. The coexistence of the new and the old, as well as that of what is open to the public and what is strictly for academic life, is more than just a harmonious contiguity or a peaceful coexistence. The pieces that are incorporated into the set recognize those elements of the past that surround them and are seen in them. They give rise to a kind of new organism in which what comes from the past acquires a new presence and vitality.

Source: © Felipe Fontecilla

Figure 9 

Front Building and Covered Patio in the UC Extension Center, Campus Oriente

Architects: Fernando Pérez Oyarzun, José Quintanilla Chala

Associate architect: Juan Eduardo Ojeda

Contributors: Arquitectura DEsE Uc: Rocío Ballesteros, Macarena Burdiles, Juan Pablo Corral, Mónica Flores, Manola Ogalde, Nicolás Yopo

Location: Jaime Guzmán E. 3300, Providencia, Santiago, Chile

Client: Dirección de Infraestructura Uc, Tomás Dalla Porta, Rafael Núñez, Francisco Palacios, Marcela Flores, Álvaro Leiva

Construcción: R&R Construcciones Ltda.

Plumbing: Patricio Moya (Instaco), Marcelo Toro (Ruz y Vukasovic), Rodrigo Aguilera (Ruz y Vukasovic).

Electrical engineering: Pablo Oyola (COBE Ingenieros)

Shoring system: Lucy Magaña, Gonzalo Magaña

Energetic efficiency: Waldo Bustamante, Gonzalo Escobar

Independent architecture consultant: Gerardo Sepúlveda

Independent engineering consultant: Hans Becks

Air-conditioning: Manuel Gutiérrez (

Data and telephony: Jorge Cisternas (Dirección de Informática UC)

Lighting design: Catalina Harasic

Acoustic consultant: Verónica Wulf, Roberto Beltrán (Absorbe)

Theatre consultant: Ramón López Cauly

Structural materials: Reinforced concrete and metallic structure, with ceramic solar protection elements (lattice).

Interior and exterior finishes materials: Plasterboard panels and false ceilings, smooth concrete tiles, aluminum and wood carpentry in the auditorium, perforated metal plates in ceilings and in the covered patio pillar cladding.

Budget: 55,8 UF/ m2

Built area: 2.992,5 m2

Campus area: 55.899,78 m2

Project year: 2015-2018

Construction year: 2019-2020

Photography: Felipe Fontecilla

Visualizations: Juan Samaniego, Juan Pablo Corral, Otros Pérez

Models: Magdalena Ulloa, José Miguel Acosta

Fernando Pérez Oyarzun

Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1977. Doctor in Architecture, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona, 1981. He is currently Adjunct Professor at UC. Head of the School of Architecture (1987-1990), Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts (1990-2000) and Head of the Doctorate Program in Architecture and Urban Studies (2014-2016). Visiting Design Critic at Harvard University (1990), Simón Bolívar Professor University of Cambridge (2000) and Fellow of the Swedish Center for Advanced Studies (2007). He has published extensively on modern architecture in Chile and South America. He is currently the director of the National Fine Arts Museum of Chile.

José Quintanilla Chala

Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1993. Doctor in Architecture, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona, 2004. He is a member of the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Cataluña, Spain. Since 2010 is a professor at the School of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies UC. In 2007 he founded Opalum, an architecture studio based in Barcelona. Among his collaborations are the studies for the Judicial City of Barcelona and L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (in collaboration with Enric Soria) and the Integral Rehabilitation of La Modelo Penitentiary Center, together with the School of Judges of Spain. Among his publications is the book Los hechos de la arquitectura (ARQ Ediciones, 1999) in collaboration with Fernando Pérez and Alejandro Aravena.

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