Cycle Routes

Francisca Salas P. For Lofscapes
(Photographs And Map: Francisca Salas P.)
(1) Villa Frei Housing Complex © Francisca Salas P. for LOFscapes

This week we invite you to travel the cycle path of Dublé Almeyda Street and observe how it connects urban landmarks relevant to the Ñuñoa community, establishing a heritage and architectural cycle route.

Known and recognized for its zigzagging and discontinuous layout, which alternates between pedestrian crossings, bus stops, vehicle accesses and exits, the Dublé Almeyda bike path is located between Av. Américo Vespucio and the intersection of Fernández Concha streets, Republic of Israel and Matta Oriente. The experience on this route is one with a high degree of difficulty, at least as far as surface characterization is concerned. Its location between strips of grass, sidewalks, and trees, and the existing relationships among them define an undulating surface, where the roots of the trees with their natural need for hydration tend to move towards the front gardens of the houses along the route, modeling a new topography in some sections of the bike path.

In spite of the areas interrupted along the route, it aspires to be linear and expeditious. Along the bike path, there are notable patrimonial and architectural characteristics that connect four urban landmarks of relevance for the Ñuñoa community: the Villa Frei, Juan XXIII Park, Plaza Ñuñoa and the Elías de la Cruz Neighborhood.

Our 4.6 km tour begins, from north to south, on Av. Américo Vespucio. At km 0.7 of the route, we find the Villa Frei, a housing complex for the middle class, built between 1965 and 1969 by the State Housing Commission. The architects Osvaldo Larraín Echeverría, Jaime Larraín Valdés and Diego Balmaceda were the winners of the design contest for this complex that they originally referred to as the Chacra de Valparaíso, (Farmland of Valparaiso) evoking the old farmland where the project was located. Villa Frei “presents testimony of the Chile in which micro cities were built for families, with high quality housing, extensive green areas and neighborhood equipment, reflecting how public housing policies assume an integral sense of social protection in search of the collective well-being of its inhabitants”(1).

(1) See Villa Frei (2015) <www.villafrei.cl>

Continuing our tour, at km 1.4 and reaching Los Jardines Street, we find the north access to Juan XXIII Park. The park extends between Dublé Almeyda and Doctor Agustín Andrade streets for five blocks, whose boundaries are established by the back gardens of adjacent houses. It was designed by Álvaro Covacevich and Enrique Guigoux and built in the 1960s. However, before the aforementioned dates, this space functioned as the garden of the main house of the Alessandri estate, previously called Chacra Santa Julia.

At kilometer 2, we arrive at Plaza Ñuñoa, the foundational area of the community that was created through the donation from a landowner for the formation of the municipality in 1894.

Finally, at the end of our tour is the Elías de la Cruz neighborhood, currently considered a historical conservation area. This includes a housing complex characterized by its brick facade, designed by architects Wenceslao Cousiño and Teobaldo Brugnoli. It is composed of four diagonally traced passages that end in the center of the neighborhood where the so-called Plaza de los Aburridos (Square for the Bored) is located.

(2) Villa Frei Housing Complex © Francisca Salas P. for LOFscapes
(3) Parque Juan XXIII Pergola © Francisca Salas P. for LOFscapes
(4) Bike path Juan XXIII Park, southbound view © Francisca Salas P. for LOFscapes
(5) Juan XXIII Park playground, southbound view © Francisca Salas P. for LOFscapes
(6) Barrio Elías de la Cruz © Francisca Salas P. for LOFscapes
(7) Elías de la Cruz Neighborhood facades © Francisca Salas P. for LOFscapes