A city that takes good care of its cultural heritage is a city that listens to its past without neglecting its future. This delicate balance between memory and contemporaneity is what a perdurable architecture, committed to contributing to the society, provides. Those are the cornerstones for the Matta Sur Complex. And this is luis vidal + architects’ approach to what responsible design means: A contribution to the social dialogue with an environmental commitment. The result is an unprecedented building refurbishment that gives back to the city of Santiago de Chile one of its most iconic constructions. Past, present and future merge in a building that combines modernity with tradition, technology with sustainability, and innovation with respect for the city’s heritage.
The Matta Sur Complex consists of two buildings located within the same plot: the former Metropolitan Lyceum of Santiago, built in 1891, which has been restored to host social uses such as a nursery school, a gym and an auditorium; and a new-build construction which accommodats the CESFAM (General Healthcare Clinic).
Both buildings have a total built area of 5,500 sqm that will give support to a community of more than 30,000 users. Located in the center of the plot between the two buildings is the public plaza. This space provides the community with an open space to promote social encounters, thus becoming the heart of the project.
The plaza not only organizes the space, but it also acts as a link between the buildings. Its careful topography, in addition to bridging the differences in elevation between one side of the plot and the other, allows entry to the buildings at different points and at different levels.
As a result, luis vidal + architects has achieved its goal: to retrieve and reveal the building’s original architectural and aesthetic value, while establishing a dialogue between the historic building and the new. Thanks to the work carried out, the Matta Sur Complex has been awarded the First Prize for Public Building (Built) at the Rethinking The Future Awards 2021.