Aysén State Museum

Aysén Industrial Company heritage complex turned into Aysén State Museum
Parallel to the north Alamo grove, the architectural layout respects pre-conditions elements
Rural Store heritage restoration
Labourers Kitchen heritage restoration
A foyer gives shelter and relates the landscapes and heritage
Communal auditorium and showrooms on ground floor, and deposits underground
A conceptual reconstruction of successive “Gable-roof” houses shape the building
Innercourtyards collapse the monolithic volumen
Building performs in unsteady weather
Museum merges into Patagonia landscape
Lighting design remarks interior geometry
Folded ceilings and innercourtyards allow different atmospheres through exhibition rooms

Primary Authors

  • Cristóbal Tirado
  • Silvia Barbera y Jorge Batesteza

Contributing Authors

  • Jose Tomás Rodríguez (Project Architect)
  • Ignacia Balart / Felipe Torreblanca / Juan Carlos Barros / Sebastian Cruz / Jean Craiu (Collaborators)
  • Patricio Larraín (Heritage Architect)
  • Eduardo Zegers (Structural Engineer)
  • Paisaje MPB (Lanscape Architects)
  • Douglas Leonard (Lighting Designer)
  • Javier Del Río (Energy Efficiency)
  • Constructora LyD (General Constructor)

Author

  • Dirección Regional de Arquitectura, Ministerio de Obras Públicas, Región de Aysén

Photographer

  • Cristóbal Palma
  • Diego Elgueta
  • Pablo Blanco
  • Gustavo Burgos

Objectives

Inspired by the shearing sheds and the houses of pioneers who colonized the Chilean Patagonia, the new museum that will house the largest exhibition of the museum, is developed as a monolithic and tight volume, based on a conceptual reconstruction of successive “Gable-roof” houses that shape the building. Parallel to the north Alamo tree grove, the architectural layout respects pre-conditions elements, proportions and dimensions are in direct relation with the Laborers Kitchen, the biggest of the heritage buildings. The roofs are developed with different inclinations degrees taken as reference from the slopes of the roofs of the different SIA heritage buildings. The volume recedes in areas where Alamo tree grove exists defining the location of inner courtyards, and opens on the ends to enhance its relationship with the Laborers Kitchen and the landscape. The exteriors of the museum are developed with concrete plinths, and the walls and the roof are covered with a ventilated rough Lenga wood façade. With time, weather will oxidize the wood integrating the building to the nature context. Museum interior is organized as a continuum space configured by a sequence of valleys and summits where the different heights determine the quality and atmospheres of the different exhibition rooms. The landscaping project seeks to restore and consolidate the historic Alamo tree groves and the fruit farms that existed in the area, and Lenga tree plantation will protect as a buffer the museum and the park from the growing city. Different kinds of grasses separate the park from the old road

Context

In the early twentieth century Chilean Government gave territorial concessions in order to colonize and develop Chilean Patagonia. In the valleys of Ñirehuao, Mañihuales and Coyhaique the Aysén Industrial Society (SIA) established and focused their effort on sheep farming. Some of 120 years old houses and other buildings that served as part of the SIA Coyhaique farm (from which the city took the name) remain standing until today and set the scenario where the new Aysén State Museum (MRA) is located. We approached the intervention as a museum-park, the connection with nature and the particular territorial occupation of the Aysén Industrial Society are foundational elements of the project. On a territorial scale the project responds to the old road framed by two parallel Alamo tree groves spaced about 60 meters apart. The area between them will be recreated as the ludic zone in which different kind of interactions will occur between the six heritage buildings and the new museum. The first strategy applied on the 2,6 hectares of land is cleaning all those elements that interfere with the heritage value of the architectural complex. The strategy seeks to return the set to its original state but maintaining those features that show the value of the buildings and their evolution throughout time. The program is organized to activate the use of the heritage buildings in order to promote and integrate them with the new one.

Performance

The Aysén State is an extremely isolated place due to its geographical conditions, and for decades there has been a sense of dissatisfaction on its inhabitants, who accuse certain abandonment from the government, coming to arise many political, social and cultural problems on the last years. With the new museum, it’s been possible to establish and give value to a heritage pride, rescuing the history of the settlers who inhabited the region centuries ago. A building that not only storage and exhibits collections, but also allows to speak about the origin and history of the State, but especially achieved and communicate that the cultural value is in the people themselves and their history, being they who have built their own heritage of a place difficult to inhabit. As a result of this, many families scattered along the region, have voluntarily donate their own goods and family treasures, so that they can be part of the museum's collection in order to be able to reconstruct their cultural heritage. Heritage pride is also explained from the experience of the builders themselves, because many workers came from all over the country for the construction of the new museum, while for the restoration works for heritage buildings, mainly workers of the region participated, generating and strengthening a sense of belonging. Although the collection of the museum is not yet clear, since it has just been inaugurated, the visits and confluence of the public has been over expected.

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Aysén Industrial Company heritage complex turned into Aysén State Museum