In Pursuit of Poetic Community: Alternative Imaginations of Architectural Politicality and Identity at the Open City, Chile
Haverford College. Department of History
Place of Publication
Table of Contents
Haverford users only
In 1965, a group of ten architects, poets, artists, and philosophers set out from Punta Arenas, a town deep in Chilean Patagonia, with the intention of traversing the South American continent to find poetic inspiration for their architectural endeavors. Following the imposition of the Southern Cross constellation onto the continent, this group of men, many of whom were professors of architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, wandered the landscape, musing about the interaction between geography, landscape, and Latin American identity. This journey inspired their creation of an experimental laboratory, called the Open City, at which life, work, and study were united and the disciplines of architecture, poetry, and visual art were woven together. The present study traces the activities of this group, called the Escuela de Arquitectura y Diseño, or more simply the EAD, for 25 years: from this1965 journey, to the founding of the Open City in 1970, and through the ensuing socialist regime of Salvador Allende (1970-1973) and military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). Over the course of this period, the EAD developed and strengthened its own unique architectural project by embedding it within multiple interactive spheres of spatial and philosophical experimentation. I argue that the EAD was able to adapt to the differing, oftentimes tumultuous, political moments within these 25 years, and that it succeeded in the foundation of alternatively oriented spaces of architectural exploration. I emphasize the EAD's focus on spatial dynamics from the scale of the local to the continental, and the social power of architecture that the group demonstrates, through which it was able to construct a counter-hegemonic political space during even the most repressive years of the dictatorship.