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Re-cap: Impromptu-2: Sabbagh Architects, Recent Projects

Juan Pedro Sabbagh became partner of Sabbagh Architects in 2001. Opened in 1984, Sabbagh Architects is today one of the most influential architectural practices in Chile. The typology of their architectural work covers industrial, commercial, housing, educational and heritage projects.

Sabbagh Architects is one of the most influential architectural offices in Chile, not only because of the 1.5million sqm of architecture they’ve constructed, but also because of the quality of their architectural language. The magic began with Juan Sabbagh, founder of the office and national architectural prize-winner, through his definitive architecture and academic teachings at the University of Chile.

In 2001 Juan Pedro, became a partner in the office. Juan Pedro graduated from the University Católica de Chile, bringing to the firm a stark contrast in opinion of paradigms and visions of architecture compared to those of his father. This difference has been an important addition to the office, resulting in a diversity of approaches to design by the Sabbagh team.

Juan Pedro’s visit to Melbourne was made possible by the architect’s involvement with the Shanghai exposition 2010, where he led the project team for the iconic and well received Chilean pavilion. Moreover, his presentation at Melbourne University was actioned by a joint effort between Architects for Peace and Melbourne University. The theme of this presentation was the firm’s recent projects: those developed between 2001 and 2010. Sabbagh presented a variety of architectural projects including educational, adaptive re-use, industrial, commercial and even floating residential in the Chilean Patagonia!

The defining character of Sabbagh´s architecture lies within contemporary lines of design, the language of transparency, impressive structures that are extroverted and a focus on how buildings (and occupants) function together.

One of the firm’s most impressive buildings is the Duoc Corporative building in Antonio Varas, Santiago, (Duoc is a technical institute or Tafe equivalent), which has won first prize in the World Architecture Festival of Barcelona in the ‘office’ category. This building boasts signature affairs with transparency, revealing the interior of the building to the city by opening the façade, and in the process revealing the building’s skeleton too. Casual and interactive spaces are created with the design of garden spaces, occupied by both students and the general public. Floor plans incorporate flexible and efficient organization of spaces, and an attention-grabbing opened first floor which seamlessly connects the building with the urban pedestrian city, creating a fluid interaction between the building and the street level.

Also receiving an enthusiastic response from a largely young audience, perhaps not usually excited by heritage, were some impressive examples of adaptive re-use projects in Santiago. The firm has done a number of projects in Chile where existing heritage-protected structures have been sensitively adapted to the modern day requirements of a university. As Juan Pedro Sabbagh says, the clients of his office are not looking for design; they want efficiency, affordability, and professionalism. This is the office’s priority, but impressive design is an extra component Sabbagh Architects provides both their clients and the environment in which their buildings sit. In addition, environmental sustainability is important to the firm, as is social and economic sustainability.

Architects for Peace and Melbourne University thank Juan Pedro Sabbagh for presenting to us here in Melbourne, inciting passion and reminding us that impressive design can be both award-winningly innovative as well as environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable.

Presentation Sabbagh Arquitectos (13.05.10) to Architects for Peace and the University of Melbourne

Images in this article are published with the permission of Sabbagh Architects.
Pavillion at Shanghai Exposition 2010:
Image credit:
Sabbagh Architects:

Event reviewed by: Ruth Quezon Redden and Carolina Carrasco


Anonymous said...

Thanks guys, great article and superb projects, will follow it up! Andrea

sustainable architects said...

Good luck to your other projects. I wish you all the best.

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