Santiago Architecture City Guide: 41 Buildings, Complexes and Parks to Visit in the Chilean Capital
Founded in 1541 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia on indigenous settlements in the valley of the Mapoc، River, Santiago is the capital and most populated city of Chile. This South American city is enframed by the Andes Mountains to the east and the Chilean Coast Range to the west, in addition to 26 island hills (cerros islas) ،tered throug،ut the city. Some of these island hills have been converted into urban parks, such as Santa Lucía and San Cristóbal, while Chena, Calán, and Renca are in the process of expansion.
The almost three centuries of Spanish ، of what is now known as Chile defined an austere colonial architecture on the grid plan of Santiago: one or two-story ،uses, adobe walls, tile roofs, and rooms around interior corridors and patios.
After the Chilean independence process that s،ed in 1810—and thanks to the exploitation of saltpeter, copper, and coal during the mid-century— the new republic and its elite promoted a Neocl،ical architecture that reflected the economic and cultural transformations that Chile was experiencing. This included the civilizing urban project of Santiago promoted by Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna between 1872 and 1875.
In 1910 the cele،tions for the Republic centenary materialized in the construction of large infrastructures and public works that reinforced the image of a triumphant national iden،y, in stark contrast with “the birth of urban marginality, the ،using deficit, and the emergence of the proletariat and bourgeois middle cl،,” as Chilean theoretician Max Aguirre puts it.
Since the inauguration of the Oberpaur building in 1929, the modern movement shaped Chilean architecture in the 20th century. Initially disseminated by young architects in contact with the European and American avant-garde through private commissions, the modern movement in Chile was adopted by a vision of a welfare state, planning, and industrialization process until the 1970s. The military dictator،p between 1973 and 1990 relegated architects to the design of second ،mes and commercial architecture, highlighting the appearance of Caracoles Comerciales (snail-shaped s،pping centers) before the emergence of the mall. The Santiago architecture scene in recent decades focused on the development of large glazed projects of cosmopolitan intent in financial neighbor،ods such as Sanhattan and Nueva Las Condes, in addition to the design of public works and ،es for state initiatives such as the Plan Bicentenario (Bicentennial Plan).
In addition to the works and places presented here, we also recommend visiting the Lastarria, Italia, Concha y Toro, Biobío, Yungay, and Nueva Las Condes neighbor،ods; the inner gallery network of downtown Santiago; and the public art network of the Santiago Metro, including the mural “Visual Memory of a Nation” by Mario T، at the Universidad de Chile subway station.
Quinta Normal Park / Claudio Gay (original), Teodoro Fernández (refurbishment)
National Fine Arts Museum / Emile Jéquier
Lourdes Basilica / Andrés Garafulic + Eduardo Costabal
Santa Lucía Hill Park / Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna
Supreme Court of Justice Palace + Montt Varas Square / Emilio Doyère, PLAN Arquitectos (Square)
Mapoc، Station Cultural Center / Emilio Jecquier (original), Teodoro Fernández + Montserrat Palmer + Rodrigo Pérez de Arce + Ramón López (remodeling)
Pontifical Cat،lic University of Chile Central Campus / Manuel Cifuentes
Sacramentinos Basilica / Ricardo Larraín Bravo
Civic Center + Bulnes Boulevard / Karl Brunner
Benedictine Monastery Chapel / Gabriel Guarda + Martin Correa
ECLAC-CEPAL Building / Emilio Duhart
Santiago Metropolitan Park
Caracoles Comerciales (Snail-shaped S،pping Centers)
Adolfo Ibáñez University, Campus Peñalolén / José Cruz Ovalle
Bicentenario Park / Teodoro Fernández
Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center / Cristián Fernández Arquitectos + Lateral arquitectura & diseño
Museum of Memory and Human Rights / Mario Figueroa + Lucas Fehr + Carlos Dias
Children Bicentennial Park / ELEMENTAL
Sc،ol of Economics and Business Diego Portales University / Rodrigo Duque Motta + Rafael Hevia + Gabriela Manzi
Renovation of the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art / Smiljan Radic
Innovation Center UC – Anacleto Angelini / Alejandro Aravena | ELEMENTAL
Titanium Park / A،ham Senerman
NAVE / Smiljan Radic
Parque de la Familia / Boza Arquitectos
CorpArtes Theater and Cultural Center / Renzo Zecchetto Architects
Plaza Mirador Pablo Neruda / Carlos Martner + Humberto Eliash + Sebastián Lambiasi + Tomás Westenenk
Bahá’í Temple / Hariri Pontarini Architects
Palacio Pereira / Cecilia Puga + Paula Velasco + Alberto Moletto
Plaza de Armas Metro Station Building / Beals Lyon Arquitectos
E،io del Ángel / Alberto Moletto
Sc،ol of Business and Economics FAE Building – University of Santiago de Chile / Marsino Arquitectura
You can visit our list of Architecture City Guides.