The spectacular Chile Pavilion at EXPO Milano 2015 was designed by Undurraga Deves Arquitectos, one of the most interesting and active studios on the architectural scene today in Chile. In the huge Santiago metropolitan area, Undurraga Deves Arquitectos built the Santa Ana Building, an office building that appropriates the specific features of its urban context to make a change in its continuity.
As the architects say, the entire project began with observation and study of the city landscape in the Santa Ana area, thus named for the 19th century church in the neighbourhood. An interesting example of historical religious architecture in Chile, the church is surrounded by skyscrapers built at a time when building regulations in Santiago were rather elastic in terms of the density and height of buildings. The centre of Santiago is famous for the urban “wound” inflicted by the motorway built in the 70s right across the city from north to south, Central 80, effectively dividing the city into two areas with only limited connections. The church of Santa Ana and the new building of the same name are both located on the same side of the road, and Undurraga Deves’ project faces the church. The big size is the basic element in the building’s proportions, squeezed between the gap created by the motorway, the architectural monument and the towers which dot the area to the north and south. The layout of the building relates primarily to the religious building, resting against it and mirroring it with a built section next to a planted section. It rises up 6 levels above ground, no higher than the bell tower, because it relates primarily to the body of the building, bending its head to church of Santa Ana.
As an office building, the construction has floors organised on the basis of a square floor plan, with a green inner courtyard and glass walls offering views of the city and the neighbourhood. The entire elevator block and stairwell is located on the eastern side, in contact with that of the religious building, and all the outside walls are made of glass, allowing the utmost freedom in the layout of the building. The presence of daylight, an element of great interest in Undurraga Deves’ architecture, is mitigated by a sunbreak system of fine prefabricated concrete elements with a circular section adding rhythm to the outer façades and lightening the impact of the massive glass volume. The courtyard has 3 bridges at various levels, an unexpected element, crossing it to connect the floors on either side of the courtyard, on which gardens have been planted so that every bit of green is visible in the courtyard.
Architects: Undurraga Deves Arquitectos
Location: Santiago (Chile)
Structural design: IE3 Ingenieria Estructural
Gross useable floor space: 16.630 m2
Lot size: 2220 m2
Start of work: 2012
Completion of work: 2014
Structure in reinforced concrete
Facades in precast concrete and glass
Floors: 6 above gr, 4 below gr
Photographs: Felipe Diaz Contardo / www.fotoarq.com