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Architectural Biennale Chile 2010

"XVII Bienal de Arquitectura: 8.8 RE-CONSTRUCCIÓN"
Reports Beatriz C. Maturana

After the 8.8 earthquake that hit Chile in February 27—a year in which Chile celebrates it bicentenary of independence—this biennale is not surprisingly characterized by a focus on reconstruction projects; among them, housing, public buildings, and infrastructure. In spite of the enormous reconstruction task, the overall mood of the display is optimistic and confident.

Many of these projects are proposals by various faculties of architecture located in cities representing the most devastated areas. Thus, often these projects are located in small coastal and country towns that would have seldom been featured at earlier biennales. This is one of the many important aspects of this biennale worth carrying into the future.

Generally, each faculty has focused on their local projects where they are able to demonstrate through their responses, their knowledge of the local conditions and needs. The scale of these proposals varies, yet whether large or small, these consider broader urban reconstruction strategies. These proposals speak of a dialogue between universities and society. It is this positive relationship that clearly permeates this biennale and that makes it significant.

Also present are some designs for memorial parks and public sculptures. These designs prompt in my mind questions regarding the appropriateness of ‘designing’ the spatial manifestation of a collective memory. There is a difference between building a functional piece of infrastructure named in commemoration of an event or person and designing a space intended to make us reflect on such event. In other words, I question the suitability of a designing something of an urban scale that intrudes in the life of the city and which purposely intends to manipulate our memories in some way or another.

Link: "XVII Bienal de Arquitectura (Chile): 8.8 RE-CONSTRUCCIÓN"
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