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Decolonising the City: Public Space as Cultural Resistance in Santiago de Chile

Part 2 Project 2021
Tessa Koenig Gimeno
Delft University of Technology Delft | The Netherlands
The project envisions a capacity for public space to contribute a form of cultural resistance within turbulent political and social contexts. The project imagines the permanent transition of Plaza Dignidad as a new civic space in the heart of Santiago, as a result of the occupation and de- powering of Plaza Italia during the Santiago protests of 2019. The plaza, expressed as a monumental void resisting the dense urban fabric, is designed as a civic stage for daily urban life and social manifestation. The articulation of a new common ground extends through the material and construction processes, celebrating the richness and beauty of Chile’s geological diversity and referring to vernacular earthen construction traditions. The re-appropriation of the Mapocho’s river banks recovers the territory’s native environment to the city and its people. From monuments to ruins, colonial and political statues that were defaced during the protests, are collected throughout the country and re-purposed to form an underground public archive that sits adjacent to the metro entrance, covered by a vast pavilion canopy. In a symbolic gesture that relocates fallen monuments underground, at eye-level, the statue repository documents and preserves the statues in their state of ruination, subverting and decolonising the monument through empowering place, culture and memory.
Tessa Koenig Gimeno


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