SPI CHILDREN’S HOME

Santiago, Chile

2000

SPI CHILDREN’S HOME

Santiago, Chile

2000

SPI CHILDREN’S HOME

Santiago, Chile

2000

The small-scale project we present here is part of a larger complex of existing buildings dating from 1930, which includes three projects recently developed by our studio as well.
The Children’s Home seems to be a minor piece of work within the complex, but the interest it arises emanates from the nature of its inner universe. Our challenge was to build a residence to shelter a group of forty deprived children that would evoke the atmosphere of a family home, and which would be completely different from traditional institutional residences. Our challenge was, in other words, to build a small architectural piece that would inspire hope.
An isolated volume of brick was built on the fringes of the available plot of land, located in the midst of an open landscape that still preserves the rural character of the Chilean Central Valley. The articulation of this initial module with the future residential complex will be achieved by means of the distribution of gardens.
The project explores and reinterprets the traditional Mediterranean model of the patio-home (‘casa patio’), a cultural object American nations inherited from the Spanish colonizers. Thus inspired by the wisdom of our ancestors, we organized the one-story building around a light-filled central courtyard surrounded by the rooms required by the institution.
The quiet, introverted, rectangular character of the exterior of the module shuns pre-eminence and stands in contrast with the broken geometry of the interior, which creates a playful, motivating, inviting atmosphere.
The inclined planes roofs converging to the patio project out from the horizontal cornice that envelops the building. Inside, the random geometry of the covering seems almost immaterial, like a veil flapping in the wind and covering all the rooms in the house.
The central patio floods the interior with pure light. The wooden walls seem diaphanous and harmonize the glass that defines the irregular shape of the patio, making inner space expand or contract to induce either repose or movement. The luminosity of the patio allows one to appreciate at one glance the sheer extensibility of the inner quarters and multiplies the potential for flexibility in the use of space.
In a few words, this project is a simple patio, a small congregating cloister folding over itself like an embrace, a window open to the sky.

SPI CHILDREN’S HOME

Santiago, Chile

2000

Project: 1999
Construction: 1999-2000
Site area: 1.400 m2
Built area: 400 m2
Client: Sociedad Protectora de la Infancia
Architect: Cristián Undurraga, Alicia Ross
Executive Director: Cristian Undurraga
Collaborators: Taller Undurraga Devés, Rodrigo Rojas, Gabriela Chamas, Felipe Dufeu
Consultants: José Jímenez, Rafael Gática (estructura)
Contractor: Tito Maureira
Photos: Guy Wenborne