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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.91 Santiago dic. 2015 


Community Center
La Serena, Chile | 2010 - 2011




Under the program Quiero Mi Barrio [I love my neighborhood] –developed by the Chilean government for the physical and social recovery of 200 districts throughout the country– this project creates a place to gather a divided community. Taking advantage of a slope in the site’s topography, the building multiplies the public land and thus increases the possibilities for community use.

Palabras clave: conflict, neighborhood, social architecture, public space, Chile.


© Alberto Castex

© Alberto Castex

Site Plan. Published scale 1: 5.000

This publicly funded project was developed as part of the recovery of one of the 200 most deteriorated and vulnerable neighborhoods in Chile.

In a complex context, once must ask what should be done when the commission is unwanted or rather when its construction becomes the subject of conflicts and disputes between different sectors of the neighborhood.

The possibility of recovering the street, one of the few public spaces in the neighborhood, gave us an opportunity to rethink the community meeting space. Instead of locating in a leftover site (as is usually done), this time it was proposed as an articulating space.

Situated between the last terrace of the city and a park in one of the ravines towards the Elqui valley, the new building is located on a hillside. We were able to take advantage of the slope to organize the program under a lookout terrace and create a space of at least three neighborhood associations with multi-functional spaces that house municipal offices for family counseling, a dining room, kitchen, services, event rooms, and meeting rooms.

© Alberto Castex

In turn, the exercise of bringing the neighborhood community together implies grouping residents together according to common interests and activities, which many times is resolved by confining them to an interior space converting the neighborhood centers in fairly hermetic spaces lacking natural light.

To reconcile both conditions –closing to protect and lighting to bring together– we opted to work with a continuous perimeter of perforated concrete blocks (ladricretos) because they provide protection, resistance, and create a solar control membrane around the entire north perimeter that filters the light and allows for adequate cross ventilation in each one of the rooms.

Floor plan level +44,5 m. Published scale 1: 500
Legend: 1. Mutipurpose space; 2. Kitchen; 3. Cellar

Up: Floor plan level +46,25 and -47,50 m. Published scale 1: 500 / Down: Floor plan level +51,50 and -50,50 m. Published scale 1: 500
Legend: 1. Mutipurpose space; 2. Kitchen; 3. Cellar; 4. Trail; 5. Access; 6.Children's cultural center + Meeting room; 7. Office + meeting room; 8. Disabled persons bathroom; 9.Administration work room; 10. Balcony; 11. Multipurpose room; 12. Bathrooms; 13. Roof terrace; 14. Square.

From left to right: AA, BB, CC, DD and EE sections. Published scale 1: 500

Architects: 3Arquitectos. Nelson Sepúlveda, Freddy Sepúlveda / Associated architect: Mabel Peña / Collaborators: Ronald Neuburg, Luis Rojas / Location: Población 17 de Septiembre, La Antena, La Serena, Chile / Client: Municipalidad de La Serena, Ministerio de Vivienda y Urbanismo, Cuarta Región, Chile / Structural engineering: Ronald Segovia / Building contractor: Constructora Erices & Toro Ltda. / Electrical system: Eduardo Ávalos / Plumbing: Eduardo Ávalos / Materials: Reinforced concrete structure; finishings in policarbonate, precast concrete and steel profiles / Cost: USD$700 / m² / Built area: 700 m² / Project year: 2008 / Construction year: 2010 - 2011

1. 3arquitectos:

Nelson Sepúlveda | Architect, Universidad del Bio Bio, Chile (1996). Master in Projective Didactics, Universidad del Bio Bio, Chile (2013). He is the director of the School of Architecture at the Universidad de La Serena (Chile), teaches degree project studio and is partner at 3arquitectos.

Freddy Sepúlveda | Architect, Universidad de La Serena, Chile (2004). His degree project was awarded with the first prize at the xiv Biennale of Architecture of Chile. He teaches degree project studio at the Universidad de La Serena (Chile) and is partner at 3arquitectos.

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