Luciano Kulczewski: “The Chilean Gaudí”

In recognition of his architectural heritage, the City Council of the municipality of Santiago recently authorized to rename a street in Barrio Lastarria in his honor.

Plataforma Urbana
Plataforma Urbana

«Architecture, far from being a science, is a fundamental fact in human life: providing housing, giving cohesion to the family, giving a home where human lives are developed». Thus Luciano Kulczewski defined the profession of architect in 1969, developed with mastery by this Chilean of Polish descent who was nicknamed as «the Chilean Gaudí». Kulczewski was the greatest exponent of Art Nouveau in Chile, with pieces that reflect his genius scattered throughout the country.

Born in Temuco, he made his secondary studies at Instituto Nacional to subsequently enter the school of architecture in Universidad de Chile, where soon his shrewdness and singularity highlighted among his peers. In his projects he combined Baroque style with elements of neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau, Art Déco, among others. Being politically active, he worried about issues such as social housing and the promotion of related public policies, especially during his participation in the administration of President Pedro Aguirre Cerda, period in which Kulczewski created collective housing developments for workers in the cities of Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta and Tocopilla.

His creativity was unfolded mostly in Santiago, with works such as the access to the funicular of San Cristóbal hill, declared a Historical Monument in the year 2000; the Virginia Opazo architectural complex, recognized as “Zona Típica” since 1992; the national headquarters of the Chilean architects’ guild, declared a National Monument in 2010; the Keller housing complex in Providencia and Casa de los Torreones, his home workshop located in the street that will soon bear his name.

His eclectic style and social vision of housing come together in a unique, prolific work that is an essential part of the architectural heritage of Santiago.