Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chile. Valpo

Buildings change

The topography poses interesting challenges

Materials palette is quite rich

Buildings added piece by piece


Quebrada Marquez
Valparaiso is one of those spectacular places that just kind of catches you. You feel the history of the place with the texture and materials of the buildings, as the newly brightly painted buildings sit next to the old rusting homes, generating a new and changing palette of material and color. Everything just feels old here, but still very much alive. New interventions sometimes work and sometimes don’t, but everything feels like it has been adapted and changed over time. The challenges of building a city on steep slopes is evident and creates some amazing visual dynamics as the chaos of the power lines juxtaposes nicely next to the chaos of the hillsides. One project, Quebrada Marquez is a large housing project set on a hillside. The approach was to directly challenge the hillside by inserting a massive horizontal shift in the street. The result is quite extraordinary. And while the the deep and overpowering gesture is a repetitive and uniform approach, the necessary shifts in the street and the painting of the outer walls and balcony give it a richness and form that it is quite engaging. It carries the language of the individuality of the hillsides and applies it to a larger and less intimate approach. How to negotiate the horizontaility with the topography poses interesting challenges, which the city has always found interesting ways to negotiate (ascensores).

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