Chilean contest seeks best urban design for Santiago’s center

The Master Plan for the Bulnes Urban Axis competition aims to create a comprehensive revitalization plan for one historic sector of the capital city. 

Are you an architect with great ideas for making Santiago’s downtown even better? Well you’re in luck, because Chile’s government is launching a public competition in search of the best urban design and architectural proposals for revitalizing Santiago’s Barrio Cívico (Civic Quarter).
The Master Plan for the Bulnes Urban Axis competition is part of the Chilean government’s “Legado Bicentenario” (Bicentennial Legacy) program, which has been restoring important public spaces and buildings since Chile’s Bicentennial anniversary in 2010. The project is a joint effort between Chile’s Public Works Ministry and the Housing and Urban Development Ministry.
The Master Plan contest centers around the Paseo Bulnes pedestrian thoroughfare, near La Moneda (the presidential palace), and it’s aim is to revitalize the area.
In addition to promoting greater public use of the area, the contest also seeks to select a Master Plan that utilizes components of Santiago’s original unfinished lay-out, which was created in 1929 by Karl Brünner, an Austrian urban designer. Its present form is the result of a 1937 project headed by Carlos Vera Mandujano.
According to the Master Plan contest website, the area represents a simple and minimalist style.
“Although the design of the urban sector created was undoubtedly classical in style, it was considerably simplified: the decorative elements were reduced to a minimum, and the basic design relies heavily on the capacity of large buildings to create public spaces.”
Barrio Cívico has two key components: in the North, the Caja Cívica (Civic Square), with La Moneda at the center, and Paseo Bulnes to the South, an area still unfinished at the southern end where the street meets Parque Almagro. This public space was created after the implementation of Barrio Cívico’s 1937 plan, and it lacks specific urban or architectural planning.
The Master Plan competition aims to solve this problem by creating a new, comprehensive vision for this historic center of Santiago. The competition will award three prizes and three honorable mentions, with first place winning $US52,800 (CLP25.000.000), second place winning US$32,700(CLP15.000.000), third place $US21,150 (CLP10.000.000), and honorable mentions US$4,230 (CLP2.000.000).
The competition is anonymous, and professional architects (either Chilean or foreign) can take part. Registration is open September 13 to October 16, and the due date for proposal submission is November 19.
For more information, visit the contest’s website (in both Spanish and English).