Chile: Land of a Thousand and One Sights
RDA 2014 Hometown International Tour
June 8-14, 2014
Chile’s distinct geography and remoteness is intensified by a set of unique landscape conditions that range from the world’s driest desert to the north to the incomparable Andes to the east, from the limitless Pacific Ocean to the west to the spellbinding fjords cascading all the way south to Tierra del Fuego. The Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia (1500-1553) founded Santiago in 1541 at what turned out to be an ideal location: close to the middle of the thinnest and longest country imaginable. Occupying the basin of this rich fertile valley, Santiago is the country’s strategic capital, cultural, political and financial center, as well as the largest metropolis with a population of close to 6 million people (in a country of 17 million people as per the 2012 census).
A significant watershed in Chile’s recent history was the election of Salvador Allende in 1970, the first democratically elected Marxist president, a short lived but cathartic moment for the country. Allende (1908-1973) was killed during a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet who ruled the country under a harsh and brutal dictatorship (1973-1990). Upon the demise of Pinochet’s regime the country ventured forward with the expeditious establishment of democratic institutions. This dramatic transformation was the result of timely political will aided by a similar will to develop important social, infrastructural, and cultural projects. Today Chile enjoys one of the most stable governments in the Americas, an emerging power in the region and beyond, with a growing economy and the benefits of a working democracy. Paralleling the changes of these last two decades, Chilean architects have received growing international attention, gaining the respect and admiration the world over for the outstanding quality, rigor, and inventiveness of their architecture.
Our trip to Santiago, and to such nearby cities as Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, will reveal the expansive architecture/urbanism of this singular and intriguing country. The one-week trip (June 8 – June 14) will bring us in contact with the country’s most notable architects such as Jose Cruz Ovalle, Mathias Klotz, Alejandro Aravena, Smiljan Radic, Cristian Undurraga, Felipe Assadi of Assadi and Pulido Architects, and Cecilia Puga, to name a few. Equally important is the exposure to the rich and multifarious life of this cosmopolitan metropolis by sampling an array of local experiences, including the food, music, and dynamic art scene. To that end we will have the opportunity to visit such landmarks as the National Fine Arts Museum, the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, the Plaza de La Moneda Cultural Center, recent faculty buildings and libraries designed for the Pontifical Catholic University and the Diego Portales University, progressive housing projects such as Edificio Gen, insightful mix-use developments such as Edificio Cruz de Sur, and the memorable Mestizo Restaurant, to name some of the architectural sites that we will visit during our stay in Chile. Other highlights include a visit to a private winery on the outskirts of Santiago, and to “Open City,” the celebrated experimental architectural project along the Pacific Ocean in Valparaiso, Chile’s second largest city.
The tour will be led by Carlos Jimenez and Stephen Fox, as well as local experts. To secure your reservation, please complete and return the registration form and the terms and conditions document with your deposit. Click here to see the trip’s itinerary. For more information contact Lynn Kelly at 713-256-3244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.