This work of architecture assumes the radical challenge of hosting a program antagonistic to the existing one: recovering and transforming a former jail in the main port city of Chile into an open space for cultural activities.
Between April 16 and 26, the XIX Architecture Biennial of Chile was held, which, in a decentralizing gesture, was held in the Cultural Park of Valparaíso, symbolically conducting talks and events in parallel in different cities of the country. It was a different Biennial, with ambitions directed towards contingency and inclusion, where the most important exhibitions and presentations of architectural celebration were displayed. This was also occasion to present the National Architecture Prize winner, Teodoro Fernández Larrañaga.
Located on Cerro Cárcel (Prison Hill), the Valparaíso Cultural Park is the result of a public contest won in 2009 by the team Martin Labbé and Carolina Portugueis, Jonathan Holmes and Osvaldo Spichiger. This work of architecture took on the radical challenge of hosting a program antagonistic to the existing one: to recover and transform a former jail into an open space for cultural activities, i.e., to transform a space of confinement and deprivation of liberty into a public sphere that welcomes traditional and artistic expressions. In material terms, this change is visible from the conversion of a walled summit with only a view of the sky, to a walled esplanade of cultural refuge.
The resilient volumes of the jail and the new construction dialogue in silent tension, like shadow blocks located on one of the most significant surfaces of the Valparaiso hills. And between thresholds, walls and terraces, the textures and colors − poured concrete, white stucco and brick − are the protagonists between tapestries of green, absolute and geometric.
WHERE: Cárcel 471, Cerro Cárcel, Valparaíso
HOURS: Monday to Sunday from 10 AM to 7 PM
PARKING: Available in front of the main entrance and on the 5th floor of the new building when there are events or on weekends.