Community Center + CESFAM Matta Sur
luis vidal + architects
The city that takes care of its cultural heritage is the city that listens to its past without neglecting its future. This delicate balance between memory and contemporaneity is what a perdurable architecture, committed to contribute to the society, provides. Those are the cornerstones for the Matta Sur Complex and our approach to a responsible design: A contribution to the social dialogue with environmental commitment. The result is an unprecedented refurbishment that gives back to the city of Santiago one of its most iconic constructions. Past, present and future merge in a building that combines modernity with tradition and innovation with respect for the city’s heritage. The Matta Sur Complex consists of two buildings within the same plot: the former Metropolitan Lyceum, built in 1891, restored to host social uses such as a nursery school, a gym or an auditorium; and a new-build construction accommodating a CESFAM (a Public Primary Healthcare Center). A total built area of 59,200 sqft gives support to a community of 30,000+ users. Between these buildings there’s a public plaza that provides the community with an open space to promote social encounters: the heart of the project. The challenge was, on the one hand, restoring this historic building, and on the other, designing a new-build construction that integrates harmoniously into the whole. We aimed to translate the most singular elements of the preexisting building by using a contemporary language that doesn’t compete with the historic building style but enhances it. A careful analysis of the preexisting building, combined with a delicate, conscious design that involves materiality, functionality, rhythm, sustainability, façade studies and light: the key aspects of the proposal. As a result, we achieved our goal: to retrieve and reveal the building's original architectural value, while establishing a dialogue between the historic building and the new.