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Change+ Growth+Flexibility for contemporary Architecture

Part 2 Project 2003
Camilo Escalante
Ben Watson
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Santiago Chile

The project consists of a spatial travel established through modifications and extensions which define an architecture understood as “undeterminate”, in this case the conversion of a housing complex that evolves into a university faculty of visual and perfoming arts.

The architectural concept of the project allows for its flexibility of use, as follows:

a. Groupings of apartaments of various types: duplex, lofts and one-floor units which altogether generate greater possibilities of use.

b. Assemblage of operations: fusion of lofts for the construction of double height class-rooms.

c. Light structure layers over the buildings that contain a new circulation system overlooking the courtyard. These elements will establish a change of image from a program (housing) to another (educatinal).

Camilo Escalante
Ben Watson

Indetermination, ambiguity, change and growth in the architectural project.


The Final Project Studio discusses the traditional dogmas about form, programme and function in architecture. Recent architecture offers a deep criticism of these principles, and defends a transgressive, discontinous architecture, always in progress and therefore, unfinished.

Problem of Shape

Cartesian arguments about form and space actually are discredited, and have surpassed the column and beam tradition by fluid forms. Architecture is not only “the correct game of volumes under light”, but also relations of solids and voids, and movement and programme aspects. It is not only balance and harmony, but also unbalance and disharmony. Form has lost its importance and “composition” has been replaced by “assembling”.

Programme and Function

That old principle “form follows function”is no longer available. In traditional architecture, the building was conceived as a perfect, fnite object, when completed nothing could be added to it, nothing could be taken away.. Nowadays the discourse defends an indetermined and changeable architecture, which can grow depending on formal or functional requirements. The building must answer what we demand of it, flexible and changeable, according to the structural solutions it offers. Actually, even form and programme could be in opposition.

Structure and Materiality.

Terms such as “flexibility,” “space,” “skins or enveloping,” are based mainly on the building structure. Parts and pieces are added or substracted without destroying its general balance. Another discussion is whether form is subordinated to logics of materials or they go in different directions.

Architecture in permanent evolution.

Transgressions to the form, unconsideration for programme, and loss of function in a building has been a constant issue in History of Architecture. Many of the most famous architects have transgressed some outstanding works of former masters. Avant-garde architecture is in permanent progression, it never ends, one work is born from another , being itself an open field of research.

In relation with this project.

A medium size building that allows different programmes, able to change and to be adapted to new uses, in order to offer two or more projects in one solution. It may also express this diversity in a modifiable form.

Mr Dorian Wiszniewski
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