arch-peace news and articles


Material Heritage & the Chilean October Crisis 20XX

Chilean National Heritage Days:  Fri. 28 & Sat. 29 May 2021

A 1.5 hour walking tour of the protest destruction of built heritage in Ground Zero. 

11:00 am. Meet at the north entrance to Metro Univerdad Catolica, Alameda Avenue, Barrio Lastarria, Santiago, Chile (image)

The heritag Barrio Lastarria and adjacent Barrio San Borja are located in what is now known as Ground Zero, the epicentre of five month Chilean October Crisis 2019 that was suspended by COVID 19 quarantine in March 2020. When quarantine was lifted in October 2020, the unprecedented protest violence and destruction resumed with the destruction by fire of two historic churches to mark the first anniversary of the crisis. The Chilean October Crisis was initiated on 18 October 2019 with the simultaneous attack by protesters on 20 metro stations and their city wide looting, arson and vandalism of built heritage. This form of extortion rapidly spread to 11 of Chile's 15 regions. Ground Zero was established by this violence early in the crisis. 

In all, 18 buildings were set on fire in Ground Zero, a soccer field size area of pavement was smashed up with hammers and crowbars by protesters to make missiles to throw at police and every piece of pedestrian urban infrastrcucture and street lighting was destroyed, every vertical surface covered in graffiti and every public monument defaced. Three heritage listed buildings in Ground Zero were destroyed by fire and every glass surface for a radius of 1 kilometre had to be covered in welded sheet metal to protect what remained of building interiors after ransacking and wanton destruction. 

On 8 November 2019, the Asunción Parish church (1876) was ransakced and burnt for the first of three times, it would be destroyed by fire on 18 October 2020. On 12 November, 2019 the Veracruz church (1857) was attack by protesters who set ablaze the wooden doors with accelerant, and the bell tower roof and interior were severely damaged by fire. On January 4, 2020, 1000 hooded protesters attacked 100 police defending the San Francisco de Borja church (1876) and the Police Monument 1989) and, now banded from using non-lethal responses, surrendered the church to rioting vandals. This church was destroyed by hooded protesters and fire on October 18, 2020. By the end of November 2019, the cost of material damage to the axes running east and west of Ground Zero was 106 million USD, not including the damage to the Metro. 

This walking heritage/cultural tour is a modified version of the tour that Anthony McInneny prepared and delivered for the resident organisation El Barrio Que Queremos (the Barrio We Want) for theNational Heritage Week in May 2019. He has since resigned from that organisation because of their lack of advocacy for the protection of the barrio's built heritage. Prior to the October Crisis, Barrio Lastarria was a national and international tourist destination for its built heritage, living barrio life and integration of arts and culture into the built environment. Post Chilean October Crisis 2019-2021 and all built and cultural heritage had been defaced or destroyed by protesters. Most is now covered in thick coat of nuetral paint though the welded metal protection is still in place. This tour follows the chronolgy of protester destruction to revisit the hertiage of Ground Zero, past and future. We start where the vandals started with the Metro and end where these criminals have permantly reshaped public life, public space and Chilean Heritage- Plaza Baquedano - where the monument to General Manuel Baquedano was removed by the National Council of Monuments in March 2021 to protect it from protester violence and destruction.  



Eulogy — Khaled Asfour

Early Departure | Perpetual Legacy

Ashraf M. Salama, PhD.
Professor of Architecture,
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom 

Professor Khaled Asfour with children of a vernacular settlement in El Qasr, ad-Dakhla Oasis, Western Desert, Egypt, 2006 -- Photography: Mohab Abo Taleb.

On Sunday 14th March 2021, I woke up to a very heavy and shocking social media notification: Professor Khaled Asfour passed away (1). Just three weeks ahead of his 61st birthday marks an early departure for an intellectual, an influential pedagogue and an exceptional critic. A huge void in architectural education in Egypt and an emptiness in the architectural community in the wider Middle East are undoubtedly created.

A full professor of architecture and criticism at Misr International University (MIU), Cairo, Egypt, Khaled left a legacy of body of writings, distinctive approaches to teaching and learning, passionate commitment to mentoring and support, and most importantly, countless cohorts of architects in Egypt (1998-2020) and earlier in Saudi Arabia (1991/92-1998). Under his teachings, graduates have acquired critical abilities to become agents of development of architectural knowledge, stewards of reliable and honest criticism in architecture, and guardians of environmentally and socially responsive design approaches.

It is with great sadness that I write this eulogy for Khaled Asfour, a great friend for twenty-five years and a work colleague for four years; it is hard to process his passing. There is no intention to consider this tribute to Khaled Asfour as a coverage or analysis of all his works. Rather, it offers glimpses of our interactions and presents short reflections on a selection of his works.


Architects for Peace. Annual General Meeting

 Architects for Peace. Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held on Saturday 5th December, 9:00 am to 10:30 am AEDT.
This year due to the pandemic our AGM will be held online.

Please register through the link below to attend the AGM. 

Please note: the meeting time/day is for Santiago de Chile which corresponds to Saturday 5th December, 9:00 am to 10:30 am AEDT.  

The AGM Agenda is as follows:
1. Appoint AGM chairperson;
2. Attendance, apologies and proxies;
3. Acceptance of the 2019 AGM minutes;
4. Receive and consider the financial statement;
5. Receive and consider the President's annual report;
6. Nominate and elect members of the 2021 Committee of Management;
7. Agree on annual subscription and joining fee

Please note that members of Architects for Peace have the right to vote at the AGM. If you are a member and unable to attend, you may appoint another member as your proxy by filling in and returning the form.

Please ensure that the form is given to the appointed proxy member prior to the meeting or returned by email to the Secretary, Eva Rodriguez Ristra at no later than 6:00 pm on Friday 4th December.

The Committee of Management positions  are:
Public Officer,
General Members

We look forward to seeing you then!


La ciudad: ¿escenario de convivencia ciudadana o moneda de cambio para la extorsión?

Architects for Peace's president, Beatriz Maturana recently published an article from the city of Santiago. The letter appears in El Libero and in El Mercurio (22.10.2020) and deals with the role of the professions of the built environment in the social unrest. Political parties and institutions from the left and center-left supported the uprising of 18th of October 2019, the Estallido Social. The center-left had governed for 24 of the last 30 years and lost office to the second center-right government in 2018. The Estallido Social is distinguished by its unprecedented level of violence and destruction of urban infrastructure, architecture and built heritage. This protest forced an agreement for a plebiscite to approve or reject a new constitution together with an agreement for peace. The Plebiscite is next week but peace never came. A year later, the violence that looted, burnt and destroyed the entire Metropolitan transport system, medical centres, schools, universities, hotels, businesses, supermarkets and churches had spread across the country. In the rural south, homes continue to be burnt. Marking one-year, protesters destroyed with arson attacks two historic churches in central Santiago. They had both been partially destroyed when the crisis began in October 2019. The crowd of young protesters applauded and screamed as the burning church spire fell.

Beatriz has lived and worked in many parts of the world but has not witnessed a citizenry destroying its own built heritage or seen young people being manipulated by falsehoods. Chile has the highest Human Development Index in Central and South America.

Architects for Peace was formed because cities are where over half the world’s population lives and are the target of contemporary wars and civil conflict. In Chile, there is no professional body that represents the professions of the built environment which is speaking against the violent destruction of Chilean Cities, of its capital, Santiago.  
Image source unknown, mostly from local media.

La ciudad: ¿escenario de convivencia ciudadana o moneda de cambio para la extorsión?

Publicado en El Libero, 20 de octubre, 2020
Publicado en El Mercurio, 22 de octubre, 2020

Señor Director:

La destrucción sin precedente iniciada el 18 de octubre del año pasado hizo retroceder al país en 40 años. Los costos calculados hasta febrero de este año indicaban que éstos superaban lo invertido en un año por concepto de gratuidad en educación superior, y que la reparación de las 118 estaciones del Metro excedió el gasto anual del sistema de subsidio habitacional. Lo anterior no considera el daño infringido a la sociedad y a la credibilidad del país.

Tal como las personas, ninguna ciudad es perfecta y eso se aprende con la madurez. El título profesional, en cualquier área y en este caso en las relacionadas con el diseño de la ciudad, se refiere no sólo al conocimiento experto, sino a la ética profesional que representa la génesis de todas las profesiones y que se expresa en la búsqueda del bien común. El conocimiento profesional (lo opuesto al dogma) permite comprometernos con la búsqueda de soluciones a las inequidades urbanas, con la sensatez y comprensión de que los cambios en las ciudades (donde converge lo social, cultural, económico, ambiental) son complejos y toman tiempo. Es por lo anterior que avalar la violencia, la destrucción y la extorsión usando a la ciudad como moneda de cambio para el logro de agendas ideológicas, es contrario a toda ética profesional.

La ciudad siempre ha sido y seguirá siendo el escenario de la vida cotidiana, de sus alegrías y desafecciones. Por otro lado, su destrucción aniquila el espacio de comunicación cívica y de la vida en compartida como sociedad. La ciudad destruida no representa sólo un problema material, sino que atenta contra nuestra dignidad y la cultura que nos une, y es eso lo que ha sido atacado sistemáticamente para crear el escenario de polarización y odio que algunos justifican o persiguen.

Para alguien que ha sido testigo de postrevoluciones, puedo dar fe de que permitir que fanáticos (ostentando títulos profesionales) justifiquen la destrucción de la ciudad es el camino más expedito a la miseria humana, de la cual ya somos testigos.      

De: Beatriz Maturana Cossio, arquitecta y urbanista, académica


Steering Committee Meeting - via Zoom

Steering Committee Meeting - via Zoom

Saturday 24 October 8:00am AEST.  (Friday October 23, 6:00 PM Santiago) 

For any member wishing to attend, below are the details. 

Anthony McInneny is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Architects for Peace

Time: Oct 23, 2020 06:00 PM Santiago

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 788 7842 2733

Passcode: 87TPHM