A Praise of Light

"Paseo Bulnes" by Karl Brunner
"And the city understood that the emptiness could fulfill values again…”
Movements That Gather
Culture, Movement & Health
Brain Storming
"A Praise to Light"
Full & Empty
From Emptiness to Mindfulness
Downtown Descomposition

Primary Author

  • Cristián Lecaros Cox


  • Universidad Finis Terrae


  • Francisco Garcia Huidobro (Academic Coordinator)


  • Magdalena Sierra


“A praise to light” proposes 5 temporary interventions that will revive Karls dream while respecting rhythms and volumetric continuity, offering areas for new activities and improving the neighborhoods dynamics. The strategy used was based on a profound understanding of how neighborhoods work and the movement of its people in order to bring life back to the city. Each intervention works as a “destination” under the logic of the utopia Plug in City, offering flexibility and adaptability. The interventions we propose will be strategically located along Paseo Bulnes and based on urban flows between the elements already present in the environment: CULTURE: This area will be designed to receive different forms of cultural activities. There will be a stage for live performances and an open-air cinema. The metallic structure will be designed to receive works of art protecting them while exposing them in an attractive and original way. MIND: A place to think, areas for co-working or school support with free Wi-Fi zone, desks, meeting tables and areas to just stop and think. BODY: Sports Area with multi-courts to offer all sorts of sporting activities to the neighbors of all ages. HEALTH: A subdivided area where neighbors can work their own organic vegetable garden with classes to lean about gardening and nutrition. There will be a restaurant will health food made with the produce generated in these gardens and stands to sell produce. MOVEMENT: Skate parks, experimental workshops, evening projections will bring movement to our project.

Project Statement

The “Paseo Bulnes”, located in the center of Santiago, Chile was planned in 1935 as the most radical urban intervention of the city. At the time, 7 blocks where destroyed to create the “Barrio Civico” under the grand plan of Karl Brunner. Unfortunately, his dream didn´t come true. Some of the reasons for its aborted development are : changes of governments priorities and plans, lack of financing for the projects, failed master plans, explosion of urban construction by property developers taking advantage of weak regulations for short term profit, etc… In consequence, the area has developed in a chaotic neighborhood with in a same view : a Neo-Byzantine Basilica, empty lots filled with rubbish and high rise beehive ghettos. What was meant to be historical patrimony became one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Santiago. We are looking for a creative way to bring light to darkness.

Project Description

The areas to intervene are private and the project is planned to make it interesting for all parties: private owners, government and neighbors. The depth of the problem requires an urgent and effective solution. How to make it interesting for the private owner? Each space will generate funds though carefully selected publicity related to area, government funds related to the ministry at stake (Sports, Health, Agriculture, Culture) and commerce selling items related to the area. These funds will be destined to “rent” the area from the private owners and pay for the investment and operation over the period of the “concession”. How will they be built? All the interventions will be built under strict norms in a very defined style. Light steel structures will fill the emptiness while connecting the existing buildings, creating contained open areas. The idea behind these structures is to be able to dismantle the intervention at the end of the “concession” and rebuild it the next dark zone. What is the future of “A praise to light“? Neighbors will have privileges such as free use of certain areas, special invitations and will be given the opportunity to work in their new “home” but the real interest of this new version of Karl’s dream will undeniably be that Paseo Bulnes will become a tourist attraction of great impact bringing funds into the project and possibly lengthening its lifespan, transforming the temporality into permanency. “A praise to light” could become a new form of urbanism in developing countries.

"Paseo Bulnes" by Karl Brunner