Woven Landscapes
Gloria Saravia Ortiz for LOFscapes
(1) Museo de los Colonos Alemanes, (German Colonial Museum) Wetlands  © Gloria Saravia O. for LOFscapes  / (2) Volcán Osorno, Lago Llanquihue © Gloria Saravia O. for LOFscapes

As a legacy that shapes identity, the landscape of Frutillar is at risk as a result of interference and negative impacts from diverse elements, for example the slow disappearance of our architectural and natural heritage. The research project led by our guest columnist this week highlights the memory and landscape identity of Frutillar through the construction of an imaginary: praise for the landscape from its visible aspects and from those aspects commonly forgotten that reveal the hidden beauty of the landscapes we do not know.

The landscape embraces the extraordinary legacy of a complex system that crosses architectural, geographical, natural, and cultural aspects throughout history; in this context, the landscape draws and contains the foundational outlines of the cultural and patrimonial structure of a given place. The landscape is thus seen as a past legacy that configures identity (1), emphasizing that to understand, define, and promote a complete reading of the landscape system, it is not only important to incorporate the existing, but also the forgotten traces, the still latent traces, and the fragments or pieces ignored as keys in the configuration of its imaginary.

(1) Denis Cosgrove, “Modernity, Community and the Landscape Idea,” Journal of Material Culture Vol.11 (2016), pp. 49–66.


From this premise the research project on Frutillar’s landscape, in the Los Lagos Region, was proposed in 2015 to reflect on the theoretical, critical and project aspects in an effort to consider how it could be recovered from its situation as a landscape at risk. These risks are a product of interference and negative impacts from diverse sources: urban and rural over-exploitation, natural and ecological fragility, the appearance of degraded and ignored spaces, and the slow but continuous disappearance of its architectural and natural heritage. All of these are factors that destabilize the landscape and generate vulnerability.

With the support of the Puentes (Bridges) Program of UC, the Municipality of Frutillar and the Plades Foundation, through the dedication and enthusiastic work of the students from the PUC School of Architecture and the Research Workshops of the second semester 2015 and 2016, this research was organized in three lines of work metaphorically defined as tempos in the totality of the landscape. Each one is understood not only as a system of measurement, differentiation and speed, but also of qualification and representation of the character and nuances of the particular atmosphere of the Frutillar landscape (2): a) Allegro: Lower Frutillar, b) Andante: Upper Frutillar, c) Adagio: Rural Frutillar. The pentagram of the landscape is formed in such a way that it can be read in its ups and downs, from its silences and from its current and historical pauses, as a work of our imagination to construct a recognizable melody that tries to be articulate and articulated in all of its movements.

(2) Mark Sullivan, The Performance of Gesture: Musical Gesture Then and Now (Illinois: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984).


When considering the requirements and difficulties of Frutillar, the absence of systematized recording and documentary material as aspects associated with the tangible fragility of the idea of landscape led to the first and primary objective: generate records, systematic cataloging, and graphic, theoretical, and planimetric material. These are parameters of memory conservation and the zone’s landscape identity. Qualitative and comparative interpretations of the idea of Frutillar’s landscape were generated, composing an imaginary that articulates the three tempos as a coherent melody, which is complex and diverse, considering the physical reality and its cultural representation as well as perceptions from the social, geographic, and immaterial interpretations (3).

(3) Joan Nogué, “Paisaje, Identidad y Globalización,” (Landscape, Identity, and Globalization) Fabrikart, Universidad del País Vasco Vol.7 (2007), pp. 136–145.


A careful reading of the cultural and patrimonial landscape implies placing the focus of visualization on a larger panoramic view, realizing that its richness is evident in the crossing of multiple layers and in each one of its fragments. This realization implies valuing what is veiled in rurality, relegated and often outside the limited structure defined today as heritage (4). The rural landscape often represents the most vulnerable part of the territory; nevertheless, these areas are still active and their crops and traditional agricultural practices have shaped a historical image of the territory, conferring upon it an identity worthy of being rescued, manifested in architecture that has the capacity to evoke and reveal a landscape (5) belonging to the geography and with cultural moorings, where the memories of the modified context resonate.

(4) The denomination of “Typical Zone” of an area of Lower Frutillar in 2013 by the Council of National Monuments (CMN) generated a series of actions and proposals that have facilitated improvements and recovery. The area included, however, is limited and only considers 35 buildings with different degrees of protection and/or conservation by the CMN, leaving most of the territory outside the area and outside the activation proposals.
(5) Elissa Rosenberg, “L’imagination topographique,” Les carnets du paysage 9 (2002).


What is fundamental is the configuration of an imaginary that defines the landscape identity, understands the nuances and discontinuities as part of the system, and promotes a complete reading by expanding the spectrum, incorporating pieces that are now ignored. Recognizing the keys and evidence of the landscape involves including the most disadvantaged areas in the imaginary. Moreover, we must keep in mind that the public and private investment in the areas of heritage or other aspects of conservation and/or restoration are directed to the area of Lower Frutillar, an icon of tourism.

This proposal recognizes and values the research and its recording as a systematization tool, the importance of safeguarding the memory and the landscape identity of Frutillar, which are the foundations of its culture and heritage. From the construction of this imaginary, the landscape receives the praise it so deserves in its visible aspects and it also reveals its hidden beauty, so commonly forgotten that we are not even aware of it.

More information on the portals Paisaje Patrimonial y Cultural de la Zona Típica de Frutillar (Patrimonial and Cultural Landscape of the Typical Zone of Frutillar)<> and Activando el Paisaje de Frutillar Alto (Activating the Landscape of Upper Frutillar)

The exhibition of the work carried out during the second semester of 2016 and the corresponding Master Plan proposed by the Research Workshop of the PUC School of Architecture is entitled “Activando el Paisaje de Frutillar Alto. Tejiendo Preexistencias” (Activating the Landscape of Upper Frutillar: Weaving in its Pre-existing elements) and can be seen until Feb. 28, 2017 in the Museo Colonial Alemán de Frutillar (German Colonial Museum of Frutillar) from Monday to Sunday 9:00 AM -7:30 PM.

Gloria Saravia Ortiz is an Architect (PhD), Professor at the School of Architecture of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and Director of the Interdisciplinary Exhibition FADEU Work in Progress, the theme of which is National Landscape.

(3) Abandoned house, Frutillar © Diego Ospina A. for LOFscapes
(4) Lower Frutillar © Diego Ospina A. for LOFscapes


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