Agosto 03, 2021 #Life & Culture

Chile’s great architects

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Un listado con los arquitectos más importantes de Chile

Throughout its territory, Chile possesses various great architectural works. They have gradually become part of the landscape in the country’s big cities as well as its smaller towns. There are always visionaries behind these architectural wonders who have managed to capture their art and expression in them. Let us tell you about some of the most famous Chilean architects on a global level.

Alejandro Aravena

Recognized as one of the most influential contemporary architects in the world, in 2016, he received the Pritzker Prize, the most important global architecture award. That same year, the New York Times placed him among the 28 creative geniuses who have defined our culture, alongside figures such as Michelle Obama and Donatella Versace. In 2008, he received the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Alejandro completed his undergraduate studies in 1992, before perfecting his art in different Italian academies. He works as an independent architect and has taught at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and at Harvard University. He is dedicated to carrying out social infrastructure, transport, public space and social housing projects through his Elemental studio.

His most popular works include the Siamese Towers and the Anacleto Angelini UC Innovation Center, both located at the Universidad Católica’s San Joaquín Campus; and his social housing project in Monterrey, Mexico.

Cecilia Puga

Graduate of the Universidad Católica and now Director of Santiago’s Museo Precolombino, Cecilia stands out for her work on single-family homes as well as various other projects, such as the Barrel Room at Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery and the Pedro Montt Plaza Building in Ñuñoa, Santiago.

Her last project focused on recovering and enhancing the national heritage of the Pereira Palace (current headquarters of the Constitutional Convention), which was a joint project with Alberto Moletto and Paula Velasco. Follow this link for a tour of the Pereira Palace.

She was Director of the Universidad Andrés Bello’s Architecture School and she has taught at the University of Texas at Austin and the Zurich Federal Institute of Technology.

Cazú Zegers

A graduate of the Universidad de Valparaíso, this architect bases her work on the “inhabit lightly and precariously” concept, which refers to a low-tech architecture that understands that Chile’s greatest value is in its territory.

Some of her most important works are the Tierra Patagonia Hotel (2011), which has been recognized by various international magazines, and the Magnolia Hotel (2016), which has won international awards and been named as a fine example of the conservation of a heritage building.

Cazú Zegers received the Latin American Grand Prize for Architecture at the Buenos Aires Biennale (1993) for her Casa Cala project, located in Lago Ranco. She was also named among the world’s 18 best architects by Elle Decor and among the Latin American women architects who are breaking down barriers by Forbes in 2020.

Smiljan Radic

The Universidad Católica architect has presented at the Venice Biennale and at London’s Serpentine Gallery (2014). He is the brains behind such striking works as the cellar of the Vik Winery in Millahue (2014), the remodeling of the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, the Nave Cultural Center (2015) and the Teatro Regional de Biobío (2018), a translucent structure that lights up Concepción’s seafront at night.

Winner of the 2018 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for his contribution to architecture as an art form, the New York Times called him “a rock star among architects” in 2014.

In 2000, he won a competition to design Concepción’s civic neighborhood, a project that earned him the award for the best Chilean architect under 35 years of age from the Chilean College of Architects (Colegio de Arquitectos de Chile) the following year.

Antonia Lehmann

Recognized as the first woman to receive Chile’s National Architecture Award (2004), she opened her own studio, Izquierdo Lehmann Arquitectos, in 1984, alongside her husband and business partner, Luis Izquierdo Wachholtz. The studio challenged the era’s architectural standards, with exposed concrete as the distinctive characteristic of their work.

In 2011, she was called up to head the Presidential Advisory Committee for Chile’s New Urban Policy, a precursor to the National Council for Urban Development.

Teodoro Fernández

The Universidad Católica architect specializes in landscape studies and has dedicated his work to social housing projects, university architecture and civil architecture. In 2014, he received the Chilean National Architecture Award.

He began his professional development in Spain in the 1970s, collaborating with Fernando Domeyko and Jesús Bermejo. He later worked on various projects in Chile in the 1980s and 1990s, alongside other renowned architects such as Cecilia Puga and Smiljan Radic.


Among his most significant works are the remodeling of the Estación Mapocho Cultural Center (1994), the Inés de Suárez Park in Providencia (1994), the Bicentennial Park in Vitacura (2007), the restoration of the Quinta Normal Park (2011) and the Moneda Bicentenario Building (2014). 

Fernando Castillo Velasco

One of Chile’s most renowned architects, Fernando Castillo Velasco (1918-2013) began his studies in 1937. He and some of his university colleagues set up an architectural studio, which was praised for the modernity of its work and its rupture with accepted norms.

Some of his most famous works are the Tajamar Towers, the Portales housing project and the Universidad Técnica del Estado (now occupied by the Universidad de Santiago de Chile). In 1983 the Colegio de Arquitectos de Chile presented him with the National Architecture Award.

Luciano Kulczewski

Considered the Chilean Gaudí, Luciano Kulczewski (1896-1972) studied architecture at the Universidad de Chile. His talent was recognized from his student years at university, where he was awarded three medals by the Museo de Bellas Artes. He completed his first project while still a student: a house on Agustinas street. His works stand out for their combination of diverse styles, with neogothic, art nouveau and modernist elements.

Various Santiago neighborhoods and facades have been designed by this great artist, such as the entranceway to the Santiago Metropolitan Park’s cable car (1925), Los Castaños neighborhood, Keller neighborhood, the classic Conjunto Virginia Opazo in Barrio República in downtown Santiago, which was declared a national monument in 1992, and the Colegio de Arquitectos de Chile building on Alameda, declared a national monument in 2010. Luciano Kulczewski passed away in 1972.


Imagen de Chile