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COMPETITION HEADQUARTER BUILDING FOR UNIVERSIDAD MAYOR Location: Américo Vespucio corner Renato Sánchez, Santiago de Chile Architect: Enrique Browne Collaborator Architects: Tomás Swett, Paulina Fernández and Jorge Silva Site area: 3058 sq. mt. Constructed area: 17.790 sq. mt. Date: 2008 The first universities were developed as “cloisters”, modules closed to protect the study from noise and exterior disorder. This scheme adapts well to the cities and grows modularly. At the start of the 20th century, suburban “campus” became very popular in the United States, with isolated buildings in open landscapes. The site for the Headquarter Building inside the city had access to the subway and other means of massive transport. Thus, a cloister scheme was chosen, but modern and open. The site was divided in two. One area next to the A. Vespucio Avenue (3.000 m2) and another behind (3.340 m2). This last one would serve as enlargement or for sale. The limits were regularized, gaining amplitude for the cloister and generating larger presence of the back area in the avenue, improving its commercial value. The competition asked for an icon building. But this depends on a prominent location and on regulations that allows for unusual heights or lengths. The site alone partially fulfilled these conditions and the maximum height was only 15 floors. In any case the point that captured most attention was the corner. But in our project we valued the useful and pleasant over the spectacular. The university activity involves rising from the “material” towards the “intellectual and spiritual”. Kandinsky said in 1912 “spiritual life, to which art also belongs to…is a complex but determined movement, translated into simple terms, that leads ahead and above. This movement is the one of knowledge”. Having this in mind, it was proposed to have the main access on the corner. There a stairway begins, which replaces the security stairs and which connects the different floors. Such stairway cuts the cloister in its North-South diagonal. Descending or sitting in it looking at the park assumes the typical interchanges of university life. The lifts are attached to the walls and are glazed. Together with the inexistence of safety stairs, this makes the closed nucleus disappear, generating free floor plans of great flexibility. This increases because of the fact that the building has three independent but interconnected accesses: a) to the Rectory through the Great Hall in the “noble plan”; b) to the Postgraduate via the access stairways and ramps and c) to the Auditorium. The project has a large translucent roof, which increases its visual impact and protects the patio from the sun and the rain. It has a 30% of high efficiency photovoltaic panels. They produce electricity with an average economy of 236 KWH/day during the year, with which the investment would be returned in 15 years. In turn the building also has a “double green skin” formed by creeping plants or deciduous leaf trees. This resource means a decrease in the energy use of 20% approximately annually. The “double green skin” climbs in spiral from the west to the east of the building, reaching the roof. This green roof provides extra square meters of green area to the building and to the neighborhood. This reduces the CO2 and enlivens the neighborhood with its changing colors throughout the year.