Fig: 1 - Humans and nature have a co-dependent relationship.
There was a time when humans lived as one with nature. Their way of living was synchronised to the natural world, establishing a cooperative relation. They relied on nature’s bounty to provide them with food, shelter, and clothing, finding contentment in living with these basic requirements.
The impact of humankind on the environment was minimal at his time. But as time passed, humans outgrew their simple lifestyle and their ambitions grew. Resources were utilized to compensate for desires and demands for luxury, which is when things started to get complicated.
As civilization progressed, they gained the ability to manipulate the environment, as per their wants. Humankind had total disregard for a conscientious use of nature’s bounty, causing irreparable damage to the environment. The consequences of these actions have brought us to the point where our survival is at risk.
Can we find a way to renegotiate with nature and co-exist in harmony?
Fig: 2 - Dense population in the city and increased pollution have affected the well-being of nature.
Technological advancements have empowered civilization, to wield this new power, to override nature, constantly. Actions are taken while ignoring its detrimental impact on nature and life. The negative footprint of human activity on the planet has become greater with the multiplication of population numbers over time.
The callous chain of extraction, construction, destruction, and chaos that follows, condemns humankind. Nature is the setting of human culture and its processes. Our beliefs, livelihood, knowledge, and institutions, which are the tangible manifestations of culture, are linked to nature.
Our interpretation of culture evolves every day. But we cannot deny its roots in nature. Culture is deeply influenced by its surrounding environment, its geography, and resources, and humans are the ones that wield it. So, Culture can be the bridge that helps man restore his connection with nature.
Fig: 3 - Man, Culture, and Nature are intricately woven together through time. (Credits: Turismo Chile)
Culture in every region is unique and revival of the symbiotic relationship between culture and nature will pave the path to achieve balance in the environment.
Brief: The challenge is to design a cultural center that is built in response to the climate in the region and will function as a space for the promotion of local talent and culture.
A cultural center consists of multi-functional spaces that can be used for education, performance, or exhibit purposes. Its varied use will make it a popular public destination. The form and spatial design of the structure must be a representation of the local culture and tradition.
The aim of the design is to create a design that is context-driven. It must be accessible to all citizens. An integrated approach must be taken to create an efficient and resilient structure, physically and socially. The structure must be open and approachable.
Climate Resilience - The constraints of the site must be taken into consideration. The design must adapt and resolve any environmental issues faced by the site.
Materials - Material selection must be done keeping in mind the local context. The materials selected must not have any adverse impact on the site environment.
Life cycle - The life cycle of the material and construction must be well-planned, anticipating the changing environmental conditions of the site.
Context - The design must respond to the (existing) site conditions. The wider socio-cultural, economic, and environmental settings are to be considered in the design approach.
Sustainable - Reduce the negative impact of design on the environment, by improving building performance, reducing waste, and ensuring comfort for occupants.
Chile is a unique nation characterised by its physical narrow width. The country’s extreme length has rendered it with varying climate and geographic terrain from deserts, mountains to beaches. The cultural landscape of art, architecture, and cuisines is a combination of indigenous and immigrant communities’ lifestyles.
The site is located in the city of Antofagasta. Antofagasta, Chile is a city of 400,000 is situated on the edge of the Atacama Desert, commonly known as the driest non-polar region in the world. It also lies south of Monumento Natural La Portada, a huge natural arch home to an abundance of sea life.
The site is adjacent to a transport hub and can be accessed by Av. Iquique road. It is around 500 meters away from the shoreline.
Site area = 4302 sq.m
Height restriction = 12 metres
Maximum Builtup Area = 4302 sq.m
Ground coverage = 30%
Setbacks (as per CAD plan)
Coordinates = 23°38'18.4"S 70°23'34.6"W
The following programmatic outline is the point to begin your design at. You can add more functions and activities in relevance or modify the below design program.
Gallery, Display Area = 125 q.m
Workshops, studios, classrooms = 200 sq.m
Bookstore = 150 sq.m
Museum = 400 sq.m
Cafeteria = 325 sq.m
Reception, Entrance, Foyer, Waiting Area = 200 sq.m
Administration = 75 sq.m
Parking and Services