Politics of the Neoliberal block in Santiago de Chile colonial grid
“Architecture is the language of substantial immobility”, Juan Borchers
“On October 12, 1492, America discovered capitalism” Eduardo Galeano
After previous experiences in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, this is the third year of a cycle in which inter 8 students have explored the urban, architectural and political consequences of working with a large urban block in a South-American metropolis. In particular, this year Santiago has offered an incredible opportunity to investigate with precision how the political and the urban are intertwined today, as Santiago was the first Latin-American capital city to suffer the urban policy-making derived from the neoliberal agenda of Milton Friedman’s Chicago Boys.
Supported by seminars, readings, trips and debates, the unit conversation has revolved around how neoliberalist policy making in Chile has altered not only the way in which the city of Santiago is shaped today, but also the most basic spaces in which its life unfolds. In Santiago, everything that was ever part of the well-fare state —housing, education, health, transportation, culture, sports—has gone through a radical process of privatization that covers from planning to intimate life. It was through confronting, bypassing or co-opting these processes that students have investigated through their design alternatives to this current state of affairs, taking seriously what would be their consequences from the urban scale to the material experience.
All projects have developed in Santiago’s centre within the 100×100 city colonial grid. This is also a prototypical area as it entered decay since the Pinochet era because of the neoliberal push to the periphery. Students’ different proposals of reconsidering one of the blocks within this grid are not only individual sparks within the darkest night of social equality, but when looked as a whole they try to portray a coherent proposal for rethinking the city.
Models by Raya Shaban, Mikolaj Karczewski , Hana Shokr, Elias Tamer, Antonin Hauterfort. Yasmina Abou Jaoude and Patricia de Osma Intermediate Unit 8 (2014-15)
Students: Amar Piyush Mehta, Antonin Hautefort, Elias Michael Tamer, Hana Shokr, Jeanne Sophie Charlotte Clerc, Mikolaj Karczewski, Olimpia Presutti, Patricia De Osma Arena, Raya Shaban, Shira Rotem, Sophia Alami Gouraftei and Yassmina Abou Jaoude