Catholic University Buildings give a green plaza to Santiago’s downtown
This Building is the first stage of an ensemble of buildings belonging to the Catholic University called "Plaza Alameda", which is part of the Central Campus of the university placed on the Alameda Avenue in Santiago’s downtown. Alameda is the city’s main avenue and runs East–West. This ensemble was designed to form a “fourth patio” related to the three patio traditional building of the university.
This fourth patio is open to the city, creating an urban void, a raised plaza.
The floor level of this plaza matches the level of the main floor of the old building. Due to the natural slope of Santiago, such level is 4 meters over Lira Street (that runs North–South between the old and new buildings) and allows, through a pedestrian bridge over the street, to connect the four patios. The level difference between the plazas floor and the Alameda Avenue is solved by an ample stairway that expresses a new attitude of the university, one of openness to the city.
Thus, a significant public space is obtained, connected to the existing corridors of the old buildings cloisters, producing a new entrance to the Cultural Centre of the university placed on the west patio of the old building.
Under the new plaza there is a 5 level underground car park with place for 600 cars.
Surrounding the plaza, 3 buildings were designed to create its East South and West borders. Of these buildings, the one at the West, 12 stories high, is the first to be built. The main walls and other structural elements of the building are made of pigmented reinforced concrete, coloured to match the old buildings. The east façade, overlooking the patio is designed as a green-façade with a net of cables supporting climbing plants protecting the inside from the summer sun and generating a green border for the patio.
The concrete columns of the underground parking extend upwards to form a colonnade in the patio in which each column is topped by an inverted pyramid consisting of a soil box hosting a Lima tree. These trees, in a short time will create a summer shadow for the whole patio.