THE QUINTA NORMAL OF AGRICULTURE · SANTIAGO, 2015
An aerial view of the Quinta Normal shows the complexity of this site founded in 1841, with its monumentality of majestic trees, particular beauty and shape, and its botanical rarity, and reminds us that this place that we insist today on calling a park was the result of executing large-scale experimental planting strategies.
Any inhabitant or visitor of Santiago who has passed through the Quinta Normal should agree that it is a unique space for social and cultural encounter. Not surprisingly, our memory is usually associated with activities that were done on this site: boat trips on the lagoon, visits to the Natural History Museum, picnics in one of its corners or brief and sporadic visits that allowed us to travel one of its old trails.
However, an aerial perspective allows us to remember the complexity of this site, which was founded in 1841 − and not in 1842 as established on its access door by Matucana Avenue. Its four original objectives included first, demonstrate the possibilities of agriculture to provide a decent quality of life for our inhabitants; second, improve local agricultural and livestock production, expanding the achievements that could be obtained from a formal education developed in the format of an experimental institute in this same place; third, acclimatize, cultivate and propagate native and foreign species; and fourth, establish a landscape typology that could be replicated in other equivalent contexts of the central valley.
The monumentality of its majestic trees, its particular beauty and form and botanical rarity, its organization in defined areas, grouped according to compatibility between species or diversity and/or aligned under the format of boulevards – or stands of poplar trees as we usually call these avenues bordered by trees, even if they are not poplars – remind us that this site, which we insist today on calling a park, was the result of the execution of large-scale experimental planting strategies (1).