architectural highlights in Santiago, according to the founder of ArchDaily

Co-founder of the most read architecture blog in the world, David Basulto analyses some of the most relevant places and buildings in the Chilean capital


Barrio Italia

“Inspired by such places as Palermo in Buenos Aires, a few people had a vision of what the neighborhood could become and worked for its development in the last five years. They enhanced its identity by maintaining its original architecture, without unmatching interventions. The mixture of design and handicraft stores, antique shops, restaurants, bicycle shops, gin bars and much more is a good X-ray of contemporary Chile.”


Monasterio Benedictino de la Santísima Trindad de Las Condes

“This national monument is one of three emblematic works of Chilean architecture and it embodies what modernity was in the country. With pure geometric shapes, the structure utilizes light in an amazing manner in the two detached cubes. Being a religious building, the lighting makes visitors feel minuscule. I'd say this is a good example of how architecture can evoke sensations.”


Parque Bicentenario

“The city has a great tradition of parks. Cerro San Cristóbal (Parque Metropolitano), for example, is one of the biggest urban parks in Latin America. In this context, the Mapocho River is extremely relevant: a system of parks stretches from the center to the Bicentenario, where the 26-mile [42 km] course culminates together with the river. Located in Vitacura, it's an open space, easily accessed and with plenty of vegetation from Chile's central valley.”


Museo Artes Visuales (MAVI)

One of the first museums to be installed in the city center, a region that was renovated and turned into an interesting area. It represented the challenge of installing a visual art museum in a small city block. Cristian Undurraga, the architect responsible for the project, solved the problem with a tremendous light entry which covers every floor.”


Centro Innovación UC Anacleto Angelini

“This work by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena — winner of the 2016 Pritzker Prize — is one of the most relevant of the past few years. It's a massive building that really relates to the surrounding landscape. Inside there are open spaces for innovation, like the central atrium where everyone can see each other, filled with places that encourage informal conversations. It's like a large thinking brain: on the outside it looks a bit hermetic, but inside it's full of life.”


Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral

“This building is loaded with history. It's like an X-ray of the past 40 years in Chile. Built during the presidency of Salvador Allende, it was used as the Ministry of Defense under the dictatorship and damaged by a fire in 2006. An architecture competition was held in order to decide the circumstances of the building's reopening to the public. The result was an undisputed success. As soon as you step inside, you see children rehearsing choreography on the patios, people juggling, etc.”