Southern Chile to finally welcome new theater

A modern, 1,200-seat cultural space will soon be created in the southern city of Concepción after construction companies bid for right to build.

Teatro Regional’s new futuristic design emits light from within. Image taken from the National Council of Arts and Culture’s website.
Teatro Regional’s new futuristic design emits light from within. Image taken from the National Council of Arts and Culture’s website.

Chile possesses many stunning buildings and monuments, most of which can be found in the country’s cities. Much of the country’s architecture is a combination of the new and the old — there are numerous nods to the neoclassical style and references to art deco, while many structures survive from the first Spanish settlers. However, with Chileans ever-ready to adapt, new modern designs are being erected throughout the country.

One such project is Concepción’s long awaited Teatro Regional. The construction of the theater, which has been in the pipeline for 15 years, will commence in August this year and will follow the original design created by Chilean architect Smijlan Radic. His plans were put in place after his modern vision won the Concurso Nacional de Anteproyectos de Arquitectura competition 2011, which seeks to receive proposals promoting the recovery of specific environments through new designs. It is organized by the National Council for Culture and Art.

“So far the bidding deadlines have been met according to the established timetable,” revealed Rene Carvajal, who works for Bio Bío’s Ministry of Public Works, at a press conference. “We should begin construction of the theater in August this year.”

An investment of US$27 million will fuel the building process consisting of 32,106 squared feet of space spread over six levels. Revolutionary and energy saving techniques and materials will be used including a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane to improve the energy efficiency of the entire building.

In total, five companies have been bidding to carry out the construction of the cultural space, which is to be positioned next to the Memorial 27F monument commemorating the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Chile in 2010. The construction company who wins the bidding process will work alongside Bio Bío’s Ministry of Public Works to deliver the 1,200 seat capacity theater.

On top of the grand main hall, the Teatro Regional will include a smaller 250-seat hall, rehearsal rooms, a cafeteria and various other areas. The plans for the building are certainly futuristic and show a towering rectangular structure illuminated from within. Large amounts of steel, concrete and glass are expected to be used to create an ultra contemporary exterior.

Chile already boasts an impressive theater, Santiago’s Teatro Municipal, built in 1957 and able to seat 1,500 spectators. The building was all but destroyed by devastating fires in both 1870 and 1927, as well as surviving an earthquake in 1906, yet it still stands today and has been officially made a national monument. There are also other regional gems such as the beautiful and contemporary Teatro del Lago in Frutillar, the largest in the country, that reaches out into Lago Llanquihue in Chilean Patagonia.