Foros 2016: Smiljan Radic

With the evocative title “Bestiary”, the renowned Chilean architect Smiljan Radic will be presenting the unique and relaxed approach to style, language and architectural method that he uses, which has positioned his work as an exponent of contemporary architecture.

For Radic, the term “bestiary” refers to a family of projects that illustrate moments which others call architecture, a premise that is the point of departure for his talk at the School of Architecture; a look at the ideas that generate his works, the effects they have on their surroundings and their relationship with the world around them. For this Chilean architect, a good building is the illustration of a momentary conviction that is capable of civilizing its surroundings.

Smiljan Radic is a member of Chile’s “golden generation”, who, along with names such as Mathias Klotz, Cecilia Puga and Alejandro Aravena, started to make a name for himself in the nineties, when Chile began to open up to the world and to democracy, with the invitation to take part in the Venice Biennale and the country’s leading role in the Congress of the International Union of Architects in Barcelona in 1996. Radic set up his practice in 1995 in Chile, after postgraduate studies at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia and winning the competition for Iraklio Square in Crete. In 2001, the Colegio de Arquitectos de Chile awarded him the prize to the best Chilean architect under the age of 35 for his project for the civic neighbourhood of Concepción and, in 2009, he was named honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. His work has been shown in prestigious galleries such as the Hiroshima Contemporary Art Museum and TOTO·Gallery MA in Tokyo.

Among Smiljan Radic’s featured projects, we can find works such as:

Serpentine Gallery

Radic created a pavilion constructed from thin layers of white fibreglass, reminiscent of papier mache wrapped around a balloon. The resulting structure, a seemingly impossibly thin translucent shell, will attract passers-by “like moths” during the evening hours, as the amber-tinted light glows from within. From inside, “the natural setting will appear lower, giving the sensation that the entire volume is floating,” according to Radic.

Speaking at the opening press conference, Radic spoke about the success of his design: “When I came two days ago, I saw the interior space and I saw the exterior, I felt that I was inside my model… to change that scale of some materials is really difficult. If you look at this pavilion from the outside, you feel that it’s a handmade volume.”

Cooper House 2

This house constitutes a second tryout with copper as the material of its outer facing. In the small town of Nercón, in the south of Chile, the ondulating texture of the cooper seemed to take on a historic quality by emulating the one that was used until the beginning of the 20th century in the house and churches of Chiloé, faced in galvanized steel.

In this building, the modulated texture (38.5 x 95 cm, with a thickness of 0.5 cm) of ribbed electrolytic copper also imitates certain general aspects abounding in the area; the heavy layers of drooping tiles, the deformation in the geometry of the pitch of the roofs due to successive extensions and bouts of decay, the deep shadows these roof slopes produce and the continuous texture of their outer skin.

Renovation of the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art

Among the highlights of the expansion is a 450 square meter showroom, which will house a new permanent exhibit.

The objectives of the intervention were to maintain and integrate the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art more effectively and fully into its urban environment, improving the standards of preservation and the exhibitions of the collections. It also sought to keep the spatial structure of the former Royal Customs (1805) building intact, allowing for needed renovations that improved quality overall. The program was also reorganized in order to improve the distribution of functions and centralize vital functions that had been scattered throughout other buildings. Thus, a renovated space utilizing the newest technologies and international standards of exhibition, research, and conservation was achieved.

Zwing Bus Stop

BUS:STOP Krumbach places the emphasis on active cultural engagement: 7 international architecture offices design a small functional building in public space – accompanied by local partner architects, implemented by skilled local craftspeople.The objective of this project is to link the achievements of international architecture design with the know-how and skills of local craft businesses based in the Bregenzerwald. This is made possible by involving regional architects as a kind of mediator between “foreign” creative work and the abilities of our craftspeople.

Architects: Smiljan Radic | Partner architect: Bernardo Bader Architekten Dornbirn

BUS:STOP Krumbach
Zwing Bus Stop © Hufton + Crow

This is a good opportunity to continue learning from the branches of architecture so we invite you to join us at Foros 2016:

Date: Monday, 9 May 2016 – 7 p.m.
Lecture: Bestiary
Place: UIC Barcelona School of Architecture, Aula Magna (Main Hall) – C/ Immaculada 22, Barcelona
Language: Spanish
Admission: free


Guillermo Marfà Permanyer, UIC Barcelona School of Architecture.
Source: Archdaily, Dezeen, Divisare

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