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Renewal Baquedano Subway Station

Part 2 Project 2001
Maite Bartolome
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Santiago Chile
Could spatial illusion be considered a designing tool for architecture?
And if so, were could illusion be necessary? In other words, were could
tricks on perception reinforce architecture, by transforming its relation
with context and spectators?

This is the case of urban infrastructures as subway stations, were problems
such as orientation, varying fluxes of users, and the rigidity of their
spatial design (born primarily from engineering concerns) set a difficult
task for conventional architecture.

Could a project based on illusion connect visually the city landscape and
the underground spaces? Could spatial deception enhance the potential
spectacle of urban infrastructures?

The project is an experiment about the potentials of illusion in
architecture. It proposes the transformation of Baquedano Subway Station
(located under one of the most recognisable city landscapes of Santiago) by
the use of periscopes that connect virtually the city and the underground.
The subway station is transformed into a dark camera, were the urban images
are brought to the people in the subway. Because of the laws of reflection,
the station becomes a personal and changing visual experience to each user,
a spectacle that is permanently transformed by the shadows and reflections
of the passengers of Baquedano Subway Station.

Maite Bartolome


The theme developed by this work refers to the creation of apparent or illusory spaces within an architectonic field. Ever since the Renaissance the theme has been explored in its multiple variables. In fact, it has been one of the most fertile contact fields with other plastic arts. In this tradition, however, the central problem that permits the crossing and synthesis of different plastic arts in one aesthetic experience is representation. Paint and sculpture put their technical arsenal at the disposition of architecture in order to represent, precisely, a fictitious but contiguous space, to which one could refer as space created by architecture.

The work presented implies a recreation of this matter, in absolute contemporary terms, yet with completely different starting points than those of the classic tendency. In the first place, there is a complete absence of any representative intention; the illusion is build with other methods that are not those of plastic or sculpture. In this sense, it is about operations that are closer to the idea of "installation", but with a completely different meaning than the one these usually acquire.

There are three basic intentions that characterise the implementation of apparent spaces in this project. In the first place, the attempt to work in a daily, ordinary and transit space: a huge transfer underground station in
Santiago. An enormous disqualified space almost unmanageable with the traditional architectural tools. In the second place, the attempt of creating this illusory spaces from the manipulation of real images (and in real time) of the space itself or its surroundings. This implies, that the created illusory space turns out to be as dynamic and changing as the real
space in the station, from which it is a sort of reverberation. In the third place, these apparent spaces materialise through certain artefacts
that fulfil, in each case, a certain practical function: deliver information regarding the general operations of the station, provide
orientation to passers-by, etc. On the other hand, in their functioning and in their technical logic, they explicit the operation of "the apparent", that could be illusory but that does not admit "trickery".

2001
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