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Chilean Modern Architecture since 1950

By Fernando Pérez Oyarzun, Rodrigo Pérez de Arce, and Horacio Torrent; Edited by Malcolm Quantrill

Publication Year: 2010

Chilean architecture—along with that of São Paolo and Mexico City—sets a benchmark for the intersection of modernism with vernacular influences in Latin America. Culture, landscape, and the geology of this earthquake-prone region have all served as important filters for the practice of post-1950s design in Chile. This volume introduces the modern architecture of Chile to readers in the United States. Looking primarily at domestic architecture as a lens for studying the larger movement, Fernando Pérez Oyarzun considers the relationship between theory and practice in Chile. As he shows in his chapter, during the early 1950s the School of Valparaíso offered the possibility of developing experimental projects accompanied by theoretical statements. There, visual artists considered poetry the starting point of modern architecture and contributed their radically modern views to the design process of the project. Next, Rodrigo Pérez de Arce examines the material context of architecture in Chile: the availability of materials and technologies, the frequency of violent earthquakes and related seismic activity, and the nation’s craft-based, labor-intensive building practices. He applies these considerations to a series of case studies to demonstrate how they interact with cultural, historical, economic, and even political influences. In the book's final chapter, Horacio Torrent reviews the interplay between the architectonic culture and modern shapes that came into sharp focus in the 1950s in Chile. In another series of case studies, he highlights the formation of a system of concepts, thought processes, instruments, and values that have given Chilean architecture a certain singularity during the last fifty years.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Studies in Architecture and Culture Series


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Title Page

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Foreword: The New Architecture of Chile: Bandaging the Wounded Site

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pp. vii-viii

There's one thing we all know for certain about Chile: that the poet Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971 and became a national hero in his own country. In his personal life and in his poetry he took a bold stand against the violation of human dignity. The Nobel Prize Committee praised his poetry as "a celebration of the...

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Introduction: The Cultural and Professional Background of Modern Architecture in Chile

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pp. ix-xiii

The tradition of a self-conscious architectural culture, differing from that of the colonial master builders and more clearly attached to the concept of professional practice, goes back, in Chile, to the late eighteenth century. It is connected with the presence and work of Joaquín Toesca in Chile over two decades. Born and educated in Italy, Toesca practiced in Spain as a collaborator of Francesco...

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1. Theory and Practice of Domestic Space between 1950 and 2000

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pp. 1-43

The practice of architecture in Chile seems to have been closely connected with certain theoretical activities, which have accompanied the work of a significant number of architects as well as permeating the entire professional culture. This is fundamental to our understanding of architectural production in the second half of the...

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2. Material Circumstances: The Project and Its Construction

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pp. 45-89

A close-up view of a precarious structure, clearly in process of decay, appeared in a recent issue of Casabella magazine, serving as the introduction to a discussion of contemporary architecture in Chile. But why was such an image selected for this purpose? One reason might be the absence of a more suitable icon. Perhaps another reason was a...

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3. Abstraction and Tectonics in Chilean Architecture since 1950

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pp. 91-155

The most typical conditions of Chilean architecture in recent years have been dominated by several factors: a pressure to build quickly a product that expands the country's economic growth; the availability of a significant quantity of architectural projects for the market; the crisis of a welfare state; and the absence of a public entity that...


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pp. 157-163


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pp. 165-174

In Memoriam: Malcolm Quantrill

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p. 175

E-ISBN-13: 9781603443333
E-ISBN-10: 1603443339
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603441353
Print-ISBN-10: 1603441352

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 65 b&w photos. 51 line art. Index.
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Studies in Architecture and Culture Series
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OCLC Number: 680622548
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Chilean Modern Architecture since 1950

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Subject Headings

  • Architecture, Domestic -- Chile -- History -- 21st century.
  • Architecture, Domestic -- Chile -- History -- 20th century.
  • Valparaíso (Chile) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
  • Vernacular architecture -- Chile -- Valparaíso.
  • Architecture -- Environmental aspects -- Chile.
  • Architecture -- Conservation and restoration -- Chile.
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