Works Appreciation
Science Faculty Building Universidad Austral de Chile
In 2008, a tragic fire destroyed the most important building of the Isla Teja Campus of Universidad Austral de Chile, in the city of Valdivia. Together with the material loss of the building, the fire burnt years of research, documents and collections of immeasurable value, leaving as the only remains, the concrete structure that supported it. In 2009, the university called a public competition to rebuild the damaged 10,000m2 structure, in which we obtained the first place. The volume remaining from the fire is a 19m by 55m rigid framework plan system distributed into four floors. It is at ground level on one side, and, on the other, one floor underground regarding Avenue Rector Dr. Eduardo Morales Miranda, the main street of the campus. The proposal consists of freeing the second level in order to connect it with the street level so as to create an area of public transit through the building in several directions towards the magnificent botanical garden facing it. The second floor, then, separates the common programme and of student services from the controlled access levels containing the various Faculty institutes, which are below or above the mezzanine. The interior rooms maintain the original 4.20m height in the common spaces and circulations and are colonized by programmatic containers that accommodate the offices on the perimeter and the laboratories in the center. The new intervention redesigns the vertical circulation by demolishing a central 8m by 8m space where a sculptural stairway is installed connecting all the levels, becoming a place of transit as well as of encounter.