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Alvaro Antonio Arancibia Tagle

Projective Cities (MPhil in Architecture) 2011/13 Architectural Association School of Architecture Graduate School Design-and-written Dissertation June 201足3


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This work would not been possible without the support of many people and institutions who have been involved in this two years process. First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the funding provided by CONICYT and the Becas Chile scholarship programme. At the AA, I would like to thank the whole staff of the MPhil in Projective Cities Programme. Particularly, my deepest gratitude to Sam Jacoby for his kindness, commitment, and conviction in the programme. I owe special thanks to Isabel DevĂŠs for her constant concern and feedback during the development of my research. Especially, I would like to thank my parents, siblings, and family for their unconditional and constant support throughout the whole process. Finally, I dedicate this thesis to Ignacia Moreno, whose love has been essential to complete this work, and to the memory of Andres Elton Necochea, Jaime Moreno Laval, and Luis Alberto Spinetta, who have been an endless source of inspiration to make things better.


ABSTRACT This dissertation challenges the current state of Santiago’s social housing and its extreme dependence on the housing market which, contrary to common sense, has led it to a complete privatization. The tight relationship among policy making, minimum standards, and urban form, have limited social housing to a simplified and isolated type-solution based on a reinterpretation of the traditional row-house model. This has allowed a large provision of social housing, effectively resolving the historic lack of housing coverage. However, the apparent success of the housing policy becomes questionable when the social housing sub-standard is made explicit, failing in several scales and spheres of domestic life. The overall failure relies in the policy’s inability to guarantee an adequate location for the low-income groups. In fact, recent social housing has only been able to afford plots in far-rural peripheries. This has therefore dictated a lifestyle of exclusion for social housing due to the lack of access to both basic infrastructure and the city core; understood as the largest source of employment, services, and opportunities. In order to face the phenomenon of urban exclusion undergone by social housing, this research investigates a new potential scenario, conceived as a domestic-economic centre. Thus, a radical reorganization of the current social housing logic is proposed, calling for a completely different model based in four key transformations. First, a non-profit (municipal-driven) procurement is proposed with the aim of creating a circular system of incentives, attempting to increase the social housing budget through the incorporation of private and public funds. The second transformation consists of a territorial management shift, which would be capable of setting larger administrative entities and a clearer organization of infrastructure in relation with the core and

labour sources. The third one is a typological transformation based on the revisiting of a housing solution typical from Santiago’s early-twentieth century called Cité. Through an amplification of this street-based type, a new relationship between type and urban form is intended. This is mainly based on the aim of establishing a clear use and definition to open spaces - a constant and controversial issue found in other housing types - and to incorporate more flexible relationships with other typologies. Thus, a large set of different typological arrangements is explored in this project. The fourth and last transformation is the re-conceptualization of the idea of standards. The project proposes the decompression of the dwelling unit through the distribution of a diversity of associated-economic programmes (labour) in the city. However, this does not mean a single scale shift from the unit to the city but rather a progressive and multi-scalar system of urban relationships, establishing different spheres of collectivity and intimacy. Hence, the new social housing standard is a complex construction defined as the possibility of both achieving a domestic autonomy from the city core and a simultaneity of urban episodes, which are manifested through the proposed social housing centre.








Chapter 1 Type

1.1 Elemental and the Formalization of a Political-Economic Discourse 1.2 The Phenomenon of Typological Stigmatization 1.2 The Notion of Type 1.3 The Row Housing’s Multi-Scales of Failure

22 26 30 34

Chapter 2 Urban Form

2.1 Metropolitan Scale: Urban Exclusion and the New Idea of Periphery 2.2 City Scale: The Role of Centralities - Labour and Geographical Accumulation of Capital 2.3 District Scale: The Idea of City Fragments 2.4 Neighbourhood and Block Scale: Urban Space and Delimited Complexity 2.5 Transitional Scalar Elements

42 44 46 48 50

Chapter 3 Standards

3.1 The Minimum Dwelling Problem 3.2 Scopes of Standard 3.3 Transformation of Standards

54 56 58

Chapter 4 Policy-Making

4.1 The Right to the City 4.2 Compared Housing Policies 4.3 The Catholic Church as a Non-Profit Model 4.4 Rethinking Policy Making: The Circular Housing Procurement

62 63 64 66

Chapter 5 Towards a New Centrality

5.1 Rethinking Santiago’s Territorial Administration 5.2 Santiago’s Northern Area and its Local Economies 5.3 The Informal Fabric and its Types 5.3 The Municipal Junction and Project Site

70 72 74 76

Chapter 6 Typology and the Idea of the City

6.1 High Density Types: Architectural Modernism and the Megablock Failure 6.2 Row Housing Types: Urban Sprawl and the Infill Block-Strategy 6.3 The Cité Type: Reinforcement of the Street and the Secondary Network for the City

80 86 90

Chapter 7 The Cité Project

7.1 Block Amplifications 7.2 Potential Typological Scenario 7.3 Urban Strategy 7.4 Phasing Strategy 7.5 Conclusion: Multiplicity of Scales

106 112 114 116 154





The New Social Housing Crisis

Since the introduction of social housing in Chile during the late nineteenth century, several unsuccessful attempts were made to answer the questions of an increased and sustained housing demand from Santiago de Chile’s low-income groups. Nevertheless, nowadays this problem seems close to being resolved by neoliberalism as a political-economic model. Yet, after thirty-three years promoting private investments, following the self-regulation of the market, and with extremely limited state support, social housing has entered into a different and equally deep crisis. Called by some ‘the poverty of those with a roof’, which points to the substandard of those who are in possession of housing, the new social housing crisis is rooted in four interrelated issues: policy-making, standards, urban form, and type.

Images 0.1 - 0.2: Typical social housing crisis scenario. 0.1






Image 0.3: Subsidy amounts. Image 0.4: Socio-economic groups and scopes of the subsidy driven policy. Image 0.5: The current housing procurement and the for-profit scheme.

Policies have caused the complete privatization of social housing, with the government supporting the private sector through the provision of a differentiated subsidy system. The way in which the subsidy operates is according to family incomes. Thus, it seems to cover a range from the low to mid-income groups, where the lower end receives more subsidies. Seeking profit maximization, an intermediary profit-seeking stakeholder, who can access government funds and acts for social housing beneficiaries, drives and coordinates the entire process of housing procurement. This is conceived as a linear money-flow model similar to a typical private enterprise. Hence, what the Chilean government has created is an ownership policy which aim is to minimize its participation in both the housing procurement and mid-to-long term maintenance of housing. Thus, the very idea underlying the current housing policy is: once house ownership is achieved, the social housing problem is fully resolved.








The second issue is the problem of standards. In order to achieve a largescale provision of social housing through the given subsidy levels, standards have been reduced to an idea of the minimum. Driven by private developers, profitability has to be ensured, and the land cost only becomes affordable by providing a substandard of the already minimum dwelling requirement. This means that the current standard is unable to affect other scales and spheres of the housing problem – block, neighbourhood, district, location, and spatial proximity, among others – in order to provide a better living quality.




The idea of standard is rather defined as an isolated problem. The required standard is therefore achieved by the mere reduction of the dwelling’s built area and by relying on future extensions of the dwelling unit, which however is contingent to the inhabitant’s future economic success.

Image 0.6: Dwelling extensions diagrams. Image 0.7: Chilean government scheme for minimum standards of rooms, furniture, dimensions. Image 0.8: Current Chilean minimum dwelling example. 0.6






Urban Form

From this subsidy-substandard logic emerges the third issue, the problem of urban form. Because of the urban delimitation policy – city boundaries and growth limit – and market regulation of land prices, recent social housing projects have only been possible in the periphery of the city, in isolated and impoverished semi-rural areas. The current standard of social housing fails to provide adequate conditions for most owners; they are deprived of access to primary infrastructure and are disconnected from the city core, which is the largest source of employment, services, and opportunities owing to the extreme centralization of the city. Due to this, Santiago’s urban form has undergone a significant shift from a compact city to a vast and disjointed one. As a consequence, low-income groups have been excluded from the city, deeply affecting their opportunities. It has resulted in extremely long commuting times every day, either to access basic services or jobs. Even worse, in terms of infrastructure, the large-scale transport system mainly relies on privatized highways. This further hinders the possibilities of mobility for low-income individuals unable to afford a car. Thus, the current and inefficient public bus system becomes their only way to get into the city or vice versa, determining a lifestyle of exclusion.


Image 0.9: The Metropolitan Region and the largest social housing settlements around Santiago. Images 0.10: Example of the current isolated-rural settlements for social housing.






The fourth and last related issue I address is type. Strictly following the current political-economic constraints given by the privatization of social housing, Elemental Architects have attempted the relocation of low income groups in peripheral inner city plots. To achieve this goal, the idea of type has been limited to a sub-standard row-housing configuration as the only typology seemingly capable to deal with the high plot costs and low budget. On the other hand, a phenomenon of typological stigmatization exacerbates this problem by the failure of midto-high density housing types in the 1950s and 1960s, which confirmed the appropriateness of row-housing. The relative success of row-housing has prevented the possibility of a richer typological discussion. Nevertheless, this model is unable to include or work together with other programmes and types. Consequently, low-income housing has become a simplified scheme of previous row-housing solutions, with its repetition allowing a higher ownership rate. The proliferation of housing units, however, does neither consider the larger group-form nor the urban isolation it produces.

x 0.12

x 0.13

Image 0.11: Rejection of types: Elemental and its diagrams for the typological stigmatization. Image 0.12: Detached or semi-detached types. Image 0.13: Row-housing types. Image 0.14: Slab blocks and high density types.


Image 0.15: Elemental and the prototyipical scheme for the social housing. 0.11






Rethinking Centralities

Through the outlined problems, it is evident that the relationship between social housing and urban centralities becomes fundamental to rethink Santiago as a whole. Compulsory daily commuting trends from the city outskirts to the core need to change in order to create a system of urban proximities, directly affecting the life quality of low-income groups. A new idea of the city has to be achieved through the provision of a system of centralities, a problem that this dissertation seeks to address. Therefore, the question that will drive the research is: What kind of scenario could allow a different architectural strategy in order to relocate social housing within the city and provide a larger idea of standard? In relation to this question I would like to explore two main problems: How can social housing settlements become centralities and what kind of proximity and relationship to the city centre should they have? What kind of procurement process and housing types would overcome the limitations of the current row-house model?

Image 0.16: Current urban exclusion diagram. Image 0.17: Proposed urban inclusion diagram. Image 0.18: Diagram for domestic centralities and the need of achieving autonomy from the city centre.

By reorganizing the current social housing logic (policy-making/homeownership subsidy, standard/ sub-standard, urban form/urban exclusion, type/row-housing limitation), this research intends to propose completely different housing models. The project will explore a new social housing procurement process and urban centralities as answers capable of directly impact on both low income group’s domestic life and the performance of the city. In order to do this, new typesolutions will be explored to strengthen the relationship between social housing and infrastructure, resulting in the reorganization and reinforcement of local economies, being this manifested through a new urban form. This will reconceptualise the standards of social housing in the different scales that take part of low income group’s domestic life.













The reading of type, urban form, standards, and policy-making in relation to social housing can be instrumentalized for a broader comprehension of its historical development in Santiago. It is possible to understand the main transformations of social housing according to four different historical models and thus understand how it has reached its current state. The Catholic Church and non-profit institutions drove the first one from 1989 to 1906. The aim of these stakeholders was the provision of housing in order to educate and moralize the working class as a larger idea of standards. By creating housing enclaves in the periphery of the city, this model was conceived as a continuation and intensification of the traditional fabric. Different street systems were introduced within the urban block, developing different scales of circulation and privacy. This model mainly developed horizontal types and inspired the row-housing arrangement and several courtyard solutions.

Image 0.19: Catholic Church social housing developments and the birth of social housing in Santiago. Image 0.20: Government social housing projects and the attempt to consolidate the centre through high density types. Image 0.21: Implementation of neoliberalism and the phenomenon of urban sprawl: 100 m2 informal plots. Image 0.22: 1990’s standardization and the extreme proliferation of low-density social housing types. Image 0.23: Policy-making, standards, urban form, and type timeline

The second model (1906-1973) created and implemented the first social housing policies in Chile, which understood the access to housing as a civil right. Here, the government took complete responsibility for the provision of social housing, locating it within the urban core and attempting its morphological consolidation. To achieve this, the strategy was to densify the centre by proliferating mid- and high-rise types. The next model was based on a completely different political-economic system, rooted in the idea of neoliberalism. It was implemented during Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990), which could be defined as the starting point of the current crisis of social housing due to its privatization. In the beginning, due to an extreme interpretation of neoliberalism, the state support was almost inexistent in the social housing provision. The problem of provision was rather left to the market for self-regulation, thereby privatizing the concept of standard, which was left instead to the individual’s economic

success. This shift of conceptualising or misappropriating standards emerged with the land liberalization law of 1979, which defined the land as a limitless commodity. The outcome of this process was an aggressive and unplanned suburban expansion, intensified by the proliferation of extremely low quality and small detached or semi-detached types within typically 100 m2 plots. Finally, once returned to democracy in 1990, the current model emerged, which can be seen as a continuation of the former, but attempt to resolve the lack of housing provision through a different state strategy that is build on mass production. In this scenario the subsidy profitability - home-ownership substandard - urban exclusion and row-housing logic takes place.












1890 - 1920

1920 - 1973

1973 - 1990

1990 - 2002

Non-Profit Institutions

State Housing Provision

Neoliberalism Home Ownership Policy

Neoliberal Insertion Home Ownership Policy

Housing as a Moral Right

Housing as a Civil Right

Low Housing Subsidy Provision (Incremental Dwelling Substandard)

Large Housing Subsidy Provision (Incremental Dwelling Substandard)

Achieving life quality through the provision of several scales of standards (dwelling unit, neighbourhood, church, schools, public spaces, working sources).

Collective life and mass production in order to achieve standards (normalization of the dwelling unit and large residential neighbourhoods projects).

Self-regulation of the market. Privatization and individualization of standards. Unplanned increme tal housing (18 m2 minimum dwelling)

Maximization of housing production through large housing projects. Between definitive (42 m2) and more restricted incremental housing (35 m2).

Peripheral Housing Enclaves

Consolidation of the City Core

Urban Sprawl

City Boundaries and Land Speculation

Row Housing /Courtyard Types

High Density Types

Detached / Semi-Detached Types

Low Rise Slabs / Row Housing Types




Chapter 1




1.1 Elemental and the Formalization of a Political-Economic Discourse

Elemental Architects have been successfully able of putting back into discussion the problem of social housing in Chile, questioning its quality since the return to democracy. Through their housing proposals, they have allowed the emergence of a large debate about the need to re-think the comprehension, construction, standards, and policymaking for social housing. According them, in order to re-frame the problem of social housing, it is first necessary to raise the following question:

is: which half do we do? We thought the best thing was to do de half that a family was unlikely to do well on its own… when there is not enough money, an alternative to reducing (size and quality) is to frame the problem as incremental housing. Under that lens, self-construction can stop being seen as a problem and start being considered as part of the solution… the initial form has to anticipate how selfconstruction will allow a family to achieve a middle-class standard.’ 2

‘Any of us in a middle-class family can live reasonably well in a house of between seventy and eighty square meters. But what if there is not enough money? What if there are insufficient private savings or access to a mortgage or public subsidies to pay for a middle class-standard?’ 1

Aravena, Alejandro, Andres Iacobelli, Elemental: Incremental housing and participatory design manual (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2012) p.17.



Ibid, p.17.

Image 1.1.1: Achieving mid-income groups standard: Elemental scheme arguing in favour of a half-house strategy. Image 1.1.2: Typical- standard mid income group house. Image 1.1.3: Elemental’s half-house solution.

For Elemental, social housing should not be understood as limited by scarcity and minimum resources but aspire to achieve mid-income housing standards. In other words, it needs to allow social mobility to overcome poverty. Thus, they seek to rethink the problem of urban exclusion of low-income groups and the lack of housing funding by understanding social housing as a transitional stage. Accordingly, Elemental strictly follows the rules given by the subsidy and the market for the rethinking of the dwelling unit. Hence, in order to address these problems and meet an aspirational middle-class standard, Elemental’s social housing has to achieve two things: more generous built area and better location.


The problem of the housing size (built area) is understood by Elemental as follows: ‘If the money can only pay for around forty square meters, instead of thinking of that size as a small house, why don’t we consider it as half of a good one? When the problem is reframed by looking at forty square meters as half of a good house instead of a small one, the key question 1.1.1




Unfortunately, the idea of achieving a desired middle-class standard by only providing half of an adequate-standard house has proven to be ineffective. In fact, the first thing that Elemental’s inhabitants do, once they receive their houses, is to extend regardless of lacking economic resources. Hence, the immediate outcome of this two halves scheme is a failure at the individual housing scale: it provides half a house at a minimumstandard, which does not even meet the aspired middle-class standard and is only similar in size, and another half-house with no standard at all, which depends on the inhabitants finances and most of the times results in poorly constructed infills. Thus, the idea proposed by Elemental can be defined as an overall substandardization of the minimum dwelling. Furthermore, it seems to be that the substandard logic is not merely an outcome but something sought by Elemental. If we look at the construction logic of the half-house scheme, it is possible to observe that its perimeter is basically the same of an entirely (empty) built house. This is something extremely suspicious and questions the bases of Elemental’s statement regarding the upgrade from low to mid-income group’s standard through the rethinking of a typological solution. The half-house strategy is therefore closer to the formalization of a political economic discourse, revealing the lack of funding available for social housing rather than an accurate type-solution capable of a qualitative reorganization of the subsidy.




Image 1.1.4: Elemental’s progressive housing and the need of growth without appropiate standards. Image 1.1.5: The half-house subsandardization diagram. Image 1.1.6: Elemental’s scheme and the built perimeter costproblem. Image 1.1.7: The dwelling unit and the small scale failure.




In regards to the necessary profitability and the question of location, Elemental responds as follows: ‘All of us when buying a house expect its value to increase over time. That is why a house, almost by definition is an investment.’ 3 According to this model, housing can be used to ask for loans which could help poor people to start a small business, to pay for better education and even enable social mobility. Furthermore, they state: ‘Given the huge impact of location on value appreciation, value gain also reflects that the house was very likely placed in a wellserved, safer neighbourhood, with better access to services and less distant from work and study, and as a consequence with less time spent on transportation. Value appreciation is the most direct way to measure the quality of housing; value appreciation is in fact a redefinition of the notion of quality, conventionally associated with size and material solidity.’ 4

Aravena, Alejandro, Andres Iacobelli, Elemental: Incremental housing and participatory design manual (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2012) p.19.



Ibid, p.19.

Image 1.1.7: Santiago’s peripheral areas in which is intended to insert Elemental’s social housing scheme. Image 1.1.8: Table of typical social housing costs: the only non fixed price-standard is land. Hence, this is subject to the land behaviour and possible cost speculations. Image 1.1.9: The sites that Elemental attempts to achieve are still unconnected and far from the city centre, infrastructure, and emerging centralities of Santiago.

over time and understanding the provision of social housing as an enabler of social mobility seem an interesting strategy. However, the theory is entirely based on the speculation that the inhabitant’s will economically be success in the open market. Thus, what happens if they fail or if there are more issues than the provision of housing that impede their economic success? What happens if market trends change unexpectedly direction? The answer seems to be that, under the current social housing policy, low-income groups need more ways of support. In other words, the market will never provide all the necessary support that low income groups need, therefore, the answer to this problem cannot emerge simply from a smarter way of distributing the housing budget and leave its implementation entirely to the private sector. 1.1.7

For Elemental, achieving a site within the city boundaries should be understood as the main investment in order to meet an appropriate social housing standard. This has been limited on the possibility of accessing to the city, discriminating this problem from other related issues. Consequently, the whole economic scheme is entirely driven by the need of affording the cost of an inner-city plot. Nevertheless, the plot cost is completely defined by the private market, who gives no guarantee regarding the cost variations in the future. This reveals the extreme dependency and embodiment of Elemental within the neoliberal logic. Hence, according to this way of understanding the problem of standards, the issue of location - the only non-fixed factor of social housing’s equation - forces an overall substandard for the social housing. On the other hand, the possibility of both increasing value to low-income housing 1.1.8





1.2 The Phenomenon of Typological Stigmatization

After the failure of mid-high-density types in the provision of social housing, particularly the slab block proliferated during architectural modernism, they have led to a phenomenon of typological stigmatization. This was due to overcrowding, lack of flexibility, inadequate dwelling sizes-standards, lack of individualization and privacy, amongst others. Stigma is a word meaning a sign, point or branding mark, which makes its carrier to be included within a specific category generating a negative response and is seen as culturally unacceptable or inferior. Using this definition in the Chilean social housing context, the clearest architectural sign leading to the typological stigmatization phenomenon is the vertical proliferation of horizontal circulations. This is related with the strong modernist legacy in Santiago, which attempted the internalization of the city within the residential building, thus detaching it from its context. The phenomenon of typological stigmatization is therefore manifested in the physical and psychological rejection of these modernist communal spaces such as circulations and open spaces. The main outcome is the transformation and fragmentation carried out by the inhabitants seeking for the individualization and creation of smaller dwelling groups.



Image 1.2.1: The trasatlantic as a modernist representation of the internalized circulations. Image 1.2.2: Example of a slab block and its urban condition in Santiago. Image 1.2.3: Example of the failure of slab block’s internalized streets. Image 1.2.4: Typological change from the traditional row houses to the slab block and the vertical proliferation of streets. 1.2.3





As an answer to the stigmatized housing types, Elemental’s attempts to re-visit some features of the historical row-house and to incorporate the car as part of the social housing programme. However, this model is an extreme simplification of the original type due to the impossibility to afford a full row-house. This leads to the inside emptiness and to its fragmentary continuity as an incremental row housing type. Thus, Elemental re-thinks social housing through a rather restricted design brief, which, however, only momentarily and partially solves certain aspects of the main social issues. According to Elemental, the answer is the following: ‘So it could be said that in order to face the problem of social housing, the following equation will need to be solved: lowrise, sufficiently dense projects without overcrowding and with the possibility to grow. Low-rise is necessary to eliminate common areas like halls and elevators that cannot be maintained and may as a consequence cause deterioration and value loss; density is necessary to pay for expensive, well-located land. The possibility to grow is necessary to allow a family to achieve a middle-class standard over time.’ 5

Aravena, Alejandro, Andres Iacobelli, Elemental: Incremental housing and participatory design manual (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2012) p.21.


Image 1.2.5: Elemental’s deep structure and the relinking of the ground. Image 1.2.6: Type-density diagrams.

The Elemental’s design brief recognises the problem typological stigmatization and clearly rejects mid- and high-rise types. Nevertheless, the partiality of this statement reveals an important contradiction and points to the root of the social housing problem: if density is the key factor to make land cost affordable, low-rise is the least adequate solution. Although some problems of mid- and high-rise types are well-known, related to lifts and vertical circulation (such as maintenance problems, operational costs, the proliferation and abandonment of elevated streets, among others), they should not be disregarded. Instead they should be rethought, as they achieve higher densities and potentially permit more expensive and better located sites. 1.2.5


Elemental R. H. Units: 100 Density: 350 in/he Footprint: 46% Free Space: 54%

Slab Block


Units: 160 Density: 570 in/he Footprint: 32% Free Space: 68%

Units: 320 Density: 1140 in/he Footprint: 17% Free Space: 83% 1.2.6



1.3 The Notion of Type

Quatremère de Quincy, ‘Type’, in Oppositions Reader: Selected Readings from a Journal for Ideas and Criticism, ed. by K. Michael Hays (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1998), pp. 616-620 (p.618). 6

Argan, Giulio Carlo, ‘On the Typology of Architecture’, in Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture, ed. by Kate Nesbitt (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), pp. 240-246 (p.243).

Looking at Elemental’s attempt to reinvent the row-house through a progressive growth strategy, it becomes necessary to discuss the typological potential of this model. Hence, two questions need to be asked: What kind of relationship is it possible to establish between Elemental’s scheme and the notion of type? How the notion of type could become in a tool capable of overcoming the limitations of the current row-house model? In order to answer this questions, it is necessary to understand the notion of type, which could be discussed from two points of view: type as an idea and type as a model. The first is related to the introduction of this notion to the architectural discourse. Conceiving type as an ideal means that this concept is an exercise of abstraction, characterized by the vagueness and difficulty of understanding it as something formal. Hence, to Quatremère de Quincy ‘the word ‘type’ presents less the image of a thing to copy or imitate completely than the idea of an element which ought itself to serve as a rule for the model.’ 6



Ibid, p.243.

Rossi, Aldo, The Architecture of the City, trans. by Diane Ghirardo and Joan Ockman (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982), p. 40. 9


Ibid, p.40.


Ibid, p.41.

Oechslin, Werner, ‘Premises for the Resumption of the Discussion of Typology’, Assemblage, 1 (1986), 36-53 (p.46).



Ibid, p.50.

Image 1.3.1: Stigmatized types by Elemental. Image 1.3.2: Elemental’s strategies for a typological change. Image 1.3.3: From detached to row housing configuration: Elemental’s typological mutantion.

For Quatremère, it becomes fundamental to trace a clear difference between a conceptual notion of type and the limitations imposed by the model. He refers to the potential of type as an idea capable of carrying certain principles that could never be entirely realised but informs the artistic creation. Quatremère’s understanding of type points towards its capacity to embody a set of eternal laws that can be found within the logic of nature (but not in nature itself). Hence, going back to Elemental’s design brief, it is possible to observe that instead of looking at the potential of type as a source capable of inspiring certain abstract rules for its constitution, it becomes clear the inclination towards the copy or complete imitation of a previously defined model. First, because of the rejection regarding some organizational systems or other types (the phenomenon of typological stigmatization). Second, due to a fixed system of rules and diagrams that establish the formal configuration of the row-house

model. This, according to Quatremère, would erase any possibility for creative production and thus is far from his notion of type. Following Quatremère’s thinking, Giulio Carlo Argan attempts to provide a more tangible definition of type in his article On the Typology of Architecture. He says that in order to recognize an architectural type, this cannot be deduced as an isolated example but only from ‘a series of instances.’ 7 According to Argan, ‘the birth of a type is therefore dependent on the existence of a series of buildings having between them an obvious formal and functional analogy.’ 8 Argan’s statement points to the crucial fact that the idea of type emerges from a process of comparing individual forms. This means that type requires a reduction of formal differences - within a group of forms - in favour of finding an elemental structure, a common principle that can enclose a universe of formal alternatives. Type is therefore the starting point of an individual form, due to its capacity to inspire infinite formal variations, and the end point of a group of diverse forms, due to its capacity to organize and reduce them to a commonlyshared principle. Consequently, if type - an idea extracted from a group of non-identical of forms - is understood from a series, how could this emerge from a previously given form? This is a question that Elemental’s row-house model can hardly answer. The impossibility to achieve a organizational system based on similar principles extracted from different forms - and therefore the emergence of a series - results from the limitation of available types to social housing. Thus, to retrieve the typological potential of type as an idea from the perspective of a series, it is necessary to understand both the mutative condition of type throughout history as an enabler of change or adaptation and also the persistence of the idea over time. The historical continuity, a form of typological hibridization rejected by Elemental, is therefore something that cannot be denied but rather is an essential

material when we refer to the problem of type. Another approach to expand the notion of type was proposed by Aldo Rossi in the book The Architecture of the City. Influenced by Argan, Rossi’s understanding of type points towards a broader concern: its fundamental relationship with the idea and architecture of the city; a problem that has not been recognised by Elemental at all. In Rossi’s words, the idea of type is ‘something that is permanent and complex, a logical principle that is prior to form and that constitutes it.’ 9 Type consists of something common and universal. Its notion is revealed through the singularity and typicality of a building. Rossi, agreeing with Quatremère, states that type is not a model because the model’s stringency would imply the conditions of an identical copy. He says that ‘in architecture (whether model or form) there is an element that plays its own role, not something to which the architectonic object conforms but something that is nevertheless present in the model. This is the rule, the structuring principle of architecture’. 10 One of the most important contributions of Rossi to the notion of type lies in its relationship with what he defines as the urban artifact. From this point of view, type is not an isolated element within the city but a constitutive part of it. The urban artifact is therefore a city fragment, which could be understood from its physical and historical (memory and experience) facts. According to Rossi, the architectural type emanates from the concept of the urban artifact and its unique relationship to the distribution of building parts, physical structure, shape, location, geography, history, and connection to the dinamics of the city. The urban artifact, conceived as individual buildings or dwelling areas, can be understood as a sum of architectural elements singularly organized in the city. Any physical manifestation can become an urban artifact, from a singular building to an urban fragment or even to the whole city . Type is therefore a typical element, something constant that defines and gives

form to a particular and unrepeatable urban condition. In Rossi’s words, ‘type is thus a constant and manifests itself with a character of necessity; but even though it is predetermined, it reacts dialectically with technique, function and style, as well as with both the collective character and the individual moment of the architectural artifact’. 11 Hence, type appears as the idea of architecture itself, which Rossi understands as a historical event that belongs to a specific context. This is where the very idea of type arises. Typology emerges as a tool for the analysis and individualization of a particular urban context. For Rossi, typology is the study of non-reducible types belonging to a specific urban context and architecture. One of the principal aspects of this understanding of type lies in the definition of typology as a process of reduction, as a logical operation capable of articulating, structuring and charging the problem of forms. Typology is consequently a tool to analyse the evolution of forms and their constant properties in relation to the role and function they have in the city. It is possible to argue that the potential relationship between the notion of type and the city - embodied in the urban artifact - suggested by Rossi makes explicit Elemental’s lack of typological ambition. This could be understood as a simplistic proliferation of an isolated-private solution which puts all its efforts in making possible the access to housing. There is no a major concern on the impact of this scheme in a larger context. It becomes evident that this solution does not attempt to establish or explore potential relationships with the city, either with pre-existing typologies or potential new ones. The idea of the urban artifact makes possible to frame a conglomerate of coexisting forms and facts within the city from the notion of type as an idea. This is based on a set of abstract relationships rather than on explicit rules emanating from a model. Hence, a broader conception of type is needed for the social housing. This would


imply a conceptualization and richer comprehension of the city, requiring therefore a re-thinking of the generic rowhouse solution in order to provide specific answers to the city. Contrary to the conceptual and abstract notion of type as an idea is type as a model. Despite Quatremère’s constant attempt to distinguish an ideal and model, Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand finds in the latter the possibility to develop a geometrical method to classify buildings and their constitutive parts, inadvertently creating new types. This classification was based on the identification of the typical building elements as separate parts. The rearrangement of these elements is seen by Durand as a form of invention and a new possibility to resolve the problem of form. His intention was first to build ‘the solid basis of the universal language of geometry to apply it in as unadulterated manner as possible to concrete architectonics objects themselves’12, relating pure geometric configurations directly to the design process. Through this method, Durand made intelligible the relationship between existing typologies and irreducible forms based on the Euclidean (universal) development of geometry. By taking the decision to systematize architectural knowledge - making the history of architecture comparable, visible and available to him - in a geometrical process of abstraction, Durand was able of creating a comprehensible process of standardization and graphic representation for the development of types. This process was conceived from the very elementalschematic stages to the more complex configurations, which could now be understood as a typological approach (without referring to the concept of type but genre). According to the relationship between the model, pragmatism and typology, Werner Oechslin argues in his article Premises for the Resumption of the Discussion of Typology that ‘the basic presuppositions of dealing with systematics and with history are both considered in

order to meaningfully introduce typology, the “theory of figures,” as an intermediate court of appeal. The realization of this project, in accordance with the distinction between type and model tossed into the balance as a weighty argument by Quatremère de Quincy’. 13 Despite Durand’s diagrammatic and geometric efforts to relate architectural forms to functions, he was unable to provide a more profound and broader content - whether historical, cultural, and geographical, among others - to the understanding of type. Instead of arguing in favour of type as a displacement of geometries, it is possible to stress - as Quatremère does - the fact that type should address both specific requirements (needs) and ontological principles (constitutive nature of type). Hence, it is possible to argue that the understanding of type as an ideal an abstraction providing the artist with a needed freedom based on type’s hermeneutics and thus promotes invention and change. Nevertheless, Durand’s approach based on the model, contributes to the epistemological formation of typology. This is therefore capable of working with the individuality of the architectural elements present in a building, establishing a shared ground and an operational system for the analysis and development of forms, moving away from any symbolic content.

out in Elemental’s design brief, impeding a typological plasticity that can answer to the needs of the social housing. The brief is therefore, contrary to Quatremère’s definition of type, ‘the image of a thing to copy or imitate completely’. Its outcome is rather a prototype to replicate in an undifferentiated manner.



The notion of type as a model is certainly a closer approximation to Elemental’s adoption of the row- house. On the one hand, its force lies in its capacity to forsee a certain typological configuration in the long term. This is possible through a strategical use of in-between voids, mutating from the initial detached configuration to a continuous row-house. On the other hand, its weakness is the underutilization of the potential of type as a model. In other words, the typological method develop by Durand - capable of both making history (precedents) visible and differentiating its architectural elements for their reorganization (typological syntax) - is made impossible by the limitations set 1.3.3



Image 1.3.4: Durand’s abstraction of architectural forms and organizational systems. Image 1.3.5: Durand’s isolation of architectural elements and the process of permutation-variation used for the typological sintax. 1.3.4





1.4 The Row Housing’s Multi-Scales of Failure

Going back to the scheme proposed by Elemental, the main outcome of its design brief is a re-interpretation of the traditional row- house as a new social housing type, called ‘parallel building’ in reference to the in-between spaces created by the detached half-houses. The parallel buildings are organized around a private space as a cluster. However, the creation of an internal-communal space is rather paradoxical and has a long history of failures that goes back to the modernist housing schemes built in the 1950s and 1960s in Santiago. It is furthermore contrary to the design brief and can be read as an entrance hall due to it preceding and organizing the access to the dwelling units as a centralized space. However, instead of defining this space as a proper hall, it is in reality a parking space easily appropriated by further, unplanned private extensions.



Image 1.4.1: Elemental’s clustering of dwelling units. Image 1.4.2: The failure of communal-open spaces. Image 1.4.3: Unplanned growth and the appropriation of communal-open spaces. Image 1.4.4: Privatization of clusters. Image 1.4.5: The parking condition of communal-open spaces. 1.4.1






The sum of housing clusters results in another failure at a different scale, the inability to define the urban block. The twisted block-form is the manifestation of a simplistic repetition of housing units. Hence, the undefined boundaries give evidence to the free-form configuration of development, which merely fills in the block in order to maximize repetition without adaptation. The motivations of plasticity and filling are also visible at a larger scale through the lack of defining a neighbourhood scale and the absence of public space. In fact, the only clearly identifiable elements are private clusters that disregard any idea of streets and public spaces, which are however important to establishing an idea of the common.



Image 1.4.6: The failure of Elemental’s block. Image 1.4.7: Elemental and the twisted morphology of the block. Image 1.4.8: Elemental’s multi-clustering and the failure of the neighbourhood scale. Image 1.4.9: The infill urban strategy. Image 1.4.10: The problem of creating a clearly defined urban system and the disregard for the street-boundary condition. 1.4.8






The discussed multi-scalar problems form the main subject of this research, which is concerned with the inability of social housing to afford infrastructurally wellconnected sites and therefore the access to the diverse opportunities offered in the city. Elemental’s solution shows a disregard in different urban scales based on the premise of making efficient the use of land. However, the financial model of the half-house is completely questionable. The problem that emerges with Elemental’s economic-typological solution is based on the assumption: that land prices are not going to change. The design model is mainly a simplistic rearrangement of previous row-housing solutions and is only able to afford sites that mostly have inadequate services and infrastructures. In fact, possible land speculation or merely a rise in the land cost will question their theory to overcome poverty through social housing ownership, as this housing will be increasingly be located outside of the city. Thus it perpetuates the current housing crisis rather than offering a solution.



Image 1.4.11: Santiago’s city centre Image 1.4.12: Long commutings in a weak bus system. Image 1.4.13: Social housing’s excluded settlements at the Metropolitan Region scale. Image 1.4.14: Concluding diagram: the city scale failure. 1.4.13



Chapter 2

Urban Form


Urban Form

2.1 Metropolitan Scale: Urban Exclusion and the New Idea of Periphery

14 Hidalgo, Rodrigo, ‘Is it over the land availability in the big city? The new social housing metropolitan peripheries in Santiago de Chile (¿Se acabó el suelo en la gran ciudad? Las nuevas periferias metropolitanas de la vivienda social en Santiago de Chile)’, Revista Eure, 98 (2007), 57-75 (p.58). 15

Ibid, p.60.


Ibid, p.61.


Ibid, p.71.


Ibid, p.72.

Image 2.1.1: The urban exclusion phenomenon: social housing projects developed between 1980 and 2003. Image 2.1.2: Santiago’s periphery.

‘Traditionally located in the peripheries of Chilean cities, during the twentieth century social housing was an engine for urban expansion. Nevertheless, in the beginnings of the twenty-first century it enters to a new stage according to its location and it is related with the construction of social housing in peripheral and rural areas. In other words, in the metropolitan areas of Chile, social housing does not have the possibility of being located in urban footprint limits but it is emerging in areas distant from the city, both in rural districts and smaller towns in large conurbations confines.’ 14 In 1990, once returned to democracy, the Chilean state devoted much of its efforts to the housing problem. They implemented a new social housing policy to maximize the number of beneficiaries, creating more than 100,000 social houses in Santiago. The large-scale provision of new houses had several manifestations such as a deficient construction quality, minimal size of dwelling units, large housing developments, and peripheral locations far away from Santiago’s centre. Following the rules imposed by the ‘urban boundary plan’ of Santiago (meaning that the extension and growth of the city was predefined), the outcome of this process was an extreme peripheralization along the metropolitan region, forcing a scalar shift from the traditional limits of the city to a large metropolitan region, defining a new and metropolitan extension of the city. Rodrigo Hidalgo describes the ensuing problem in the following way: ‘the possibility for diverse relationships physical, scenic, and political, among others - that take place and are effectively practiced in a space called the city have been displaced to another situation where those phenomena yield to the dispersion, polarization, and fragmentation as problems associated with the urban expansion.’ 15 Also, he states that ‘we are between two worlds, the city and the urban thing, where it is possible to find some infrastructure and services, but they lack

the essence of the city, that is the diversity and mix of activities and persons.’ 16 The new urban condition - where housing provision exists but without an adequate location and disconnected from several basic services - denies to its inhabitants the right to access the city. This is not only understood as a source of employment, but of culture, education, arts, social diversity, coexistence, and social security.

services such as electricity, potable water, streets lighting, and in some cases paved streets. In these places, the inhabitants live in dwellings which do not exceed 45 m2 and with the absence of the rest of the social classes, infrastructure, and some basic and non-basic services such as schools, health centres, recreation areas, commercial areas, among others’. 18 The peripheral location is therefore a direct

result of a privatized property market and the absence of a territorial planning policy, which does not recognize the right and need of low-income groups to access the city and its important facilities. Regarding the problems arising from the new metropolitan scale of Santiago, there are two main issues that I would like to conclude. First, it is necessary to relativize the land cost as the determinant

All these essential aspects of the city have mainly concentrated in Santiago’s historical centre, creating a strong dependence of most of the city - excepting the northeastern area which concentrates almost the totality of the high income groups, who have created small centralities in this area and therefore achieved a certain autonomy regarding the historical centre in just one area. This urban phenomenon calls for the need to re-think the critical relationship between the social housing and city centres as a way of establishing a system of urban proximities that could directly impact on the life quality of the low income groups. Contrary to this idea, the sustained and massive provision of social housing during the last twenty-three years at a metropolitan scale has created a new poverty, ‘the poverty of those with roof’. 17 The main urban outcome of the metropolitan expansion has been the emergence of social housing ghettos. These are isolated housing settlements characterized by an accelerated process of deterioration, inadequate facilities (education, health, and security), the absence and abandonment of green areas, unsafe streets, vacant plots, and marginalization. Hidalgo describes the problem in the following way: ‘It is necessary to question the kind of city that emerges from the social housing policy and the answer would be that its effect is a mono-programmatic, segregated, and fragmented space, that we could denominate ‘state precariopolis’, defined by the presence of urbanization 2.1.1


of social housing sites. The subsequent investments needed to rectify both infrastructure and service deficiencies at the metropolitan scale could be avoided if social housing is built within the existing and consolidated city. Second, the extension of the city boundaries in order to reduce land speculation and cost only postpones the problem for a few years. Also, this strategy needs to address the unconsolidated system of infrastructures and services, impoverishing even more the city boundaries. Hence, the urban strategy of satellite social housing settlements is not an appropriate solution for the low-income groups. This does not mean that social housing has to be relocated to the city core - obviously one of the most expensive areas of the city - but rather a rethinking of satellite as functional secondary centres that modify the dynamics of the city. A potential system of centralities would imply a complete reorganization of the city and the urban consolidation of Santiago’s periphery. This purpose requires therefore the following question: What kind of activities would define the role and location of these centralities?



Urban Form

2.2 City Scale: The Role of Centralities - Labour and Geographical Accumulation of Capital

Marx, Karl, Das Kapital: A Critique of Political Economy (New York: Gateway Editions, 2000), p.135. 19

Rodriguez, Jorge, ‘Polycentrism or extension of the historical centrality in Big Santiago’s Metropolitan Area? New evidence from the 2009 Casen survey. (¿Policentrismo o ampliación de la centralidad histórica en el Área Metropolitana del Gran Santiago? Evidencia novedosa proveniente de la encuesta Casen 2009)’, Revista Eure, 114 (2012), 7197. (p.95). 20


Ibid, p.77.


Ibid, p.75.

Image 2.2.1: Santiago’s eastern area accumulation of capital.




Image 2.2.2: Infrastructure such as tube lines are driven by the economic predominance of both the city centre and the emerging eastern area. High-density and consolidated urban areas are mainly located in these two city poles.

In order to rethink the metropolitan scale of Santiago towards a more compact, inclusive, and efficient city form, it is necessary to understand the role that centralities have in the city. This leads us to highlight, first, one the most essential and inseparable aspects of life: labour. Karl Marx defines labour not as an isolated word but as labour-power, implicitly referring to its potential for production. ‘By labour-power or capacity for labour is to be understood the aggregate of those mental and physical capabilities existing in a human being, which he exercises whenever he produces a usevalue of any description’. 19 In the sphere of labour, housing has historically played a fundamental and strategic role due to its capacity of organising the labour force, particularly when this is seen as a potential factor for the reproduction of both life and capital. Thus, it is possible to state that one of the most basic conditions that a certain area has to fulfil to become a centrality lies in its ability to provide work and its strategic connection to the problem of housing. If we look at Santiago’s relationship between labour and housing, it is evident that the current emergence of new centralities are all taking place in the richest area of the city. The new centralities have mainly been based in the geographical accumulation of capital, reinforcing the problem of large-scale urban exclusion and residential segregation. Accordingly, Jorge Rodriquez states: ‘In the case of Santiago’s metropolitan area, a remarkable historical specificity is the contrast between residential segregation - whose most notable attribute is the concentration of the highest socioeconomic group in the north-eastern area of Santiago - and the daily coexistence among almost all the socioeconomic groups in this district due to its diversity and large demand of jobs.’ 20 The description given by Rodriguez reveals the inability of Santiago’s city form to create a homogeneous system of

centralities that alters the predominance of the historical city core and organise in a much efficient way both labour force and production of capital. The geographical accumulation of capital phenomenon suggests that if the highincome groups could be dispersed in the city, a set of associated services and working sources would follow them. However, if these groups are concentrated in a particular area of the city, this creates a strong localization of enterprises and concentration of labour, forcing long working journeys to the mid- and lowincome groups, which, in the case of Santiago, represent more than 70% of the population. The second model reflects this. The concentration of high-income groups in a specific area, manifested in the predominance of the traditional business district as the area with the largest source of employment in Santiago (and in the whole country), has not led to a regular network of nodes along the periphery. Instead, the emerging subcentres have concentrated in an area with a historically high consumption potential and good connections to the centre. According to Rodriguez, this happens through ‘globalization artifacts’ 21, such as shopping malls, the main architectural outcomes of this process and also a large source of employment.

jobs. On the other hand, Rodriguez’s understanding of the problem suggests that the location of industrial areas and centres for large-scale production is not necessarily in direct relationship with its labour-force (mainly low- income groups), potentially forcing long distance travelling within the city and metropolitan region. In conclusion, the autonomy of secondary

centralities from both the traditional centre and the areas of high accumulation of capital is contingent to the potential labour relationships that these could establish. First, with the reorganization and reinforcement of local economies. Second, with strategical proximities to certain labour-activities that social housing have more difficulties to promote such as business and industrial centres.

Regarding the role of emerging centralities in the city dynamics, Rodriguez states that ‘the peripheral demographic expansion creates some degrees of employment dispersion, particularly to satisfy everyday needs (retail, primary health, and primary education, among others). However, is not obvious that this could be a triggering factor for the metropolitan dispersion of productive activities, such as industries and massive services.’ 22 Following this argument, the potential to create a new centrality lies in the rethinking and redistribution of basic services and commercial areas. A secondary centrality is therefore capable of directly modifying an important part of the communalmunicipal domestic life and even to create 2.2.1




Urban Form

2.3 District Scale: The Idea of City Fragments

As stated above, one of the main potentials of centralities is their ability to transform the local city form and role. Through the decompression of labour in the city it is possible to re-read it from a different scope, conceived from the possibility of defining district scales. An attempt to confront the capitalist establishment manifested in the power of urbanization was made by Aldo Rossi during the early 1960’s. Within a post-war democratic situation, characterized by an accelerated process of modernization and mass production, Rossi sought to rethink architectural theory by calling for a new relationship between architecture and the city. Based on a new reading of architectural modernism’s goals, his aim was to prove that architecture and the city were not two separate spheres but rather a discipline itself. His aim was to critique the domination of the capitalist political economy within the city, the extreme faith in progress, and the ideological representations of the production system. Thus, Rossi attempted to formulate an alternative understanding of the city, re-visiting the notions of history, type and place throughout the book The Architecture of the City.

23 Rossi, Aldo, The Architecture of the City, trans. by Diane Ghirardo and Joan Ockman (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982), p.40. 24

Ibid, p.40.

Image 2.3.1: Analogue City: Aldo Rossi’s representation of his idea of city fragments.

Through a new reading of the modern movement legacy, Rossi pretends to refuse its blind functionalism. This conception was rather taken by capitalism as a powerful tool for production. Instead, Rossi’s intention was to define the city through a theory based on the development of a rational language free from styles and morphological determinism. For Rossi, the architecture of the city should be capable of a new understanding of the concept of tradition. This would be possible through a critical rationalism regarding the notion of the new, establishing a continuity of architectural elements and the memory of the city. In regards to this problem, it is necessary to point out that Rossi’s conceptualization of the city is based on the historical city within the European tradition, contextualized

by the need to re-construct the Italian cities after the Second World War. This is far from the context of Santiago, which could be understood as an emergent city with a very limited architectural tradition. Particularly, in a suburban scenario devoid of elements, whether architectural or historical, capable of creating a source of knowledge and call for a continuity in the city making. However, Rossi’s critique and position towards the architecture of the city becomes relevant if we understand that he tried to face a problem that happens in both Europe and Latin America: the emerging totalitarian city planning, closely related with technocracy, as one of the main urban outcomes of capitalism. Defining the city as a place of political choices, Rossi argues against two main manifestations of the capitalist city: first against the idea of urban continuity and second against territory understood as an open form which integrates the city and suburbia, maximizing the industrial production through infrastructure. Within this logic, the morphology of the city becomes an outcome of a progressively improved process of rationalization, homogenizing both urban form and social system. Rossi defines the city as a ‘concrete geography’ 23, a sum of diverse episodesfragments coexisting within a complex whole and forming a richer city. In order to clarify his urban theory, he defines the concept of locus as a point of departure for the overall comprehension of the city. This means that the city is made of ‘the geographic singularity of architecture’s constitution, understood not just as empirical evidence but as universal structural condition.’ Hence, the locus comprises two dimensions. The first and more abstract one is typology as a universal condition of the locus. For Rossi, it is possible to define typology as a science capable of unfolding the nature and evolution of forms within the city through a reduction that seeks to decode the individuality of specific buildings. According to Rossi, type is ‘the very idea

of architecture, that which is closest to its essence. In spite of changes, it has always imposed itself on the “feelings and reason” as the principle of architecture and of the city.’ 24 The second dimension is given by the impact of a particular manifestation within the city, which Rossi calls an urban artifact. This is conceived as a unique expression and architectural concreteness of forces that make possible an accurate reading of a singular city fragment. The idea of the locus emerges from the correlation between typology and urban artifact. From these concepts Rossi establishes a clear differentiation of elements within the city, clasiffying them in the spheres of private or public. The private is mainly understood as residential areas, which conform the basic fabric and the larger built area of the city. This sphere takes form from the repetition of private units that emanate a typological coherence when these are read as a whole. On the other hand, public buildings are defined as monuments or primary elements that constitute punctual and unrepeatable operations characterized by large collective efforts. These landmarks however refer to a historical continuity, cultural homogeneity, and collective memory, which have nothing to do with Santiago’s suburbia. From this contradiction it is necessary to ask the following question: What scale could become relevant towards the notion of centrality and how can Rossi’s understanding of the city become operative within Santiago’s suburban context? Instead of keep digging in potential relationships between site and history, it seems more precise to carry out a reading of the current dynamics and activities within the city. This would therefore promote an intensifyication of the city, orchestrated by the proposed idea of secondary centralities. Following this argument, Rossi’s understanding of urban geography is particularly useful if we focus on his attempt to recognize the city as a fragmented field defined by specific

opposing forces within a larger urban context. The idea of fragments would be now given by the scalar dimension of local economies and not by Rossi’s notion of continuity. However, this would not destroy the dialectical image of spatial separation and the problem of constructing its boundaries as a way of understanding the city from the idea of the locus. The plurality that emanates from the proposed displacement of the locus would still be given by the the complexity, acceptance, and affirmation of differences. This is contrary to the blurring and integration forced by urbanization and the capitalist system. In this sense, Rossi’s attempt to bring to light the singular nature of city events is an effort of reading the city as a diversity of coexisting exceptions as the very idea of the city. What Rossi pretends with his theory fragments is to make possible a deeper comprehension of the city, based on its structuring and discontinuous elements. These are read as a sum of singular episodes, which shape a system of clearly defined forms capable of defining circumscriptions or gravitational frictions that manifest an idea of coexistence as the political essence of the city. However, the shift from history to local economies would also imply a different understanding of the role of typology in the construction of city fragments. This has to do with the need to question the predominance of form and its simbolichistorical content - graphically expressed in Rossi’s Cittá Analoga - as the main driver for the understanding of type. In order to make operative the notion of typology within the proposed suburban and economic-labour context, this has to re-link the problem of function without lapsing into functionalism. Hence, a new agreement between function and form is needed. This also means that typology has a primary role in defining the relationship between scales, understood as the impact and size of particular activities within specific areas of the city, and morphology. Thus, a new idea of urban form is needed,


which is intimately related with the problem of spatiality and quality of urban space. From this issues, it is possible to ask the following question: What kind of tactics and spaces would shape the urban form of the proposed centralities?



Urban Form

2.4 Neighbourhood and Block Scale: Urban Space Delimited Complexity

Despite the fact that the pure and explicit correlation between type and urban morphology is a common denominator in historic cities (like Santiago’s colonial city), a potential new agreement of these scales seems impossible to be achieved due to the complexity of the contemporary city. However, new potential agreements between these two scales need to be explored in order to create a coherent system or transitional urban strategies capable of dealing with complex scenarios. Following this aim, the German Siedlung is one of the first approaches to propose a different typo-morphological relationship. According to Aldo Rossi, the German Siedlung represented one of the most successful attempts to deal with the problem of housing within a larger urban system. These projects emerged as a product of the historic city structure and from an ideal vision. According to Rossi: ‘This ideal vision was based upon remembered models: that is, the Siedlung which we are able to recognize and describe in the Berlin examples did not represent an original model; however, this does not negate the fact that it had its own particular significance among housing models. Thus, in an urban situation such as that of Berlin and other European cities, the Siedlung represents an attempt to mediate, more or less consciously, between two different spatial conceptions of the city.’ 25

25 Rossi, Aldo, The Architecture of the City, trans. by Diane Ghirardo and Joan Ockman (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982), p.82. 26 Colquhoun, Alan, ‘Twentieth-Century Concepts of Urban Space’, in Modernity and the Classical Tradition. Architectural Essays 1980 - 1987 (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 1994), pp.223-233 (p.225).

Image 2.4.1: Siedlung urban floor plan.

Therefore, the Siedlung was not understood as an autonomous element in the city, but as an element that emerged from the city, adding a new spatial dimension to the idea of housing. The spatial approach of the Siedlung raises the question of the concept of urban space, defined by Alan Colquhoun as the built space defined by a specific morphology and its ability to modify our perceptions. The urban space idea leads to the definition of space itself, understood as relatively recent concept,

which, according to August Schmarsow’s definition, ‘is strictly phenomenological and psychological’ 26. Hence, the birth of the concept of architectural space in the late nineteenth -century, coincides with the emergence of new architectural types. Consequently, looking at social housing of the early twentieth-century, the most common attitude towards urban space was the rejection of the block perimeter in favour of free-standing parallel slab blocks, arranged and spaced according to angles of light as a norm. However, the Siedlung went further by hybridizing the first modernist typo-morphological schemes with the concept of enclosed order as a new idea of urban space, allowing a less restrictive arrangement of forms. The Siedlung made possible a variety of designs based on a system of solid-void composition. Hence, it incorporated a new idea of the city within the rules of the city. Therefore, it is possible to say that, on the one hand, the traditional city and its typo-morphological arrangement is an extremely restrictive and fragile system that forces the proliferation of specific types in order to create coherence. Furthermore, the concept of urban space (or spatial richness) is not something intended by this model, but an outcome of the mechanic block-type repetition. On the other hand, contemporary city suburbs are the result of the sum of individual efforts, trying to achieve individualization through the utilization of different architectural types according to subjective criteria. Thus, it can be said that, instead of creating spatial richness, the outcome of the suburban phenomenon is a spatial vacuum unable to define urban limits and boundaries (larger than the conventional block), making possible a more complex and freer organization of housing types. Despite the Siedlung’s broader and deeper understanding of the urban block, the critique that can be made to this projects is that it does not say anything about other relationships with other scales, potentially becoming in an isolated

element - in a slightly larger scale - within the city.




Urban Form

2.5 Transitional Scalar Elements

In regards to the complexity and problems of each previously described scale, it is possible to argue for the creation of a system capable of simultaneously operating in different scales. Following this idea, Collin Rowe and Fred Koetter’s Collage City is as an attempt of proposing the coexistence of complex urban conditions. These are driven by a concept based on the collision of both textures and spatial qualities. Rowe and Koetter position themselves against the typo-morphological homogeneity of the traditional city, and its dense void arrangement condition, which could rather be challenged by the notion of collage. This multiplicity of layers would therefore open a much richer range of possible urban arrangements capable to produce formal answers in a more performative way to the dynamics of the city. Nevertheless, what Collage City does not provide is an intelligible system in relation to the architectural elements of the city and an understanding of how these could be related in order to produce the stated complexity and collision of spaces. In other words, Collage City is rather a visual manifesto based on the subjective perception of urban space which does not give any clues for the operability of the proposed urban condition.

Image 2.5.1: Collin Rowe’s Collage City and the collision of urban textures. Image 2.5.2: Louis Khan and Anne Tyng’s mural at Weiss house (1950). Image 2.5.3: Graphic interpretation of Louis Khan and Anne Tyng’s mural. Image 2.5.4: Smal scale: Coexistence of different and unique objects. Image 2.5.5: Middle scale: The grid. Image 2.5.6: Large Scale: The patterns.

buildings within the city. Second, through the grid as an intermediate and dominant element, which could be interpreted as the role of housing and its current standardized needed condition. Third, by following the pattern areas which define different and larger roles and functions of the city. Hence, what predominates in this representation is the concept of simultaneity, which also relates with the problem of standards, revealing the need of providing several programmes and activities in different scales ruled by housing as an orchestrating element.


Contrary to Collage City’s unclear architectural proposal, Louis Kahn’s and Anne Tyng’s interpretation of Rome outlines the possibility of a different and coherent understanding of the city which could inspire some answers to the question about urban complexity and its different scales. This mural contains three different tactics which reveal a potential multi-scalar operability and several relationships among the elements of the city. These could be read first through singular, small, unique, and free elements coexisting within a complex diversity, representing the multiplicity of programmes and 2.5.2






Chapter 3




3.1 Standards and the Minimum Dwelling Problem

Teige, Karel, Minimum Dwelling: The Housing Crisis, Housing Reform (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002), p.33 .


28 Lathouri, Marina, ‘The Necessity of the Plan, Visions of Individuality and Collective Intimacies’ in Intimate Metropolis, Urban Subjects in the Modern City, trans. ed. by Vittoria Di Palma, Diana Periton, and Marina Lathouri (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 153-174 (p.162). 29

Ibid, p.162.

Image 69: Hannes Meyer’s Co-op Zimmer and the need of rethinking social housing standards.

Addressing the problems of social housing and shortage of public funding, Elemental has attempted to redefine housing standards through new concepts of the dwelling unit and its minimum standard. In order to understand the magnitude of this re-conceptualization, it is essential to study the relationship between standards and minimum dwelling, but also their relation to policies and implementation. Hence, it is necessary to define two questions. What is the concept of minimum dwelling and what effect does this concept have beyond the dwelling unit? What kind of standards should social housing meet? The concept of the minimum dwelling emerges from the need to provide a growing amount of worker’s housing and the factual-technical problem of its mass production. With the introduction of mass production in the early twentieth century, a new housing type appeared which was meant to guarantee the necessary conditions for a minimum and healthy subsistence. Despite continuous efforts to theoretically define the minimum dwelling, it has remained a problematic and controversial issue. Particularly in developing countries such as Chile, where the lack of social housing provision points to the absence of a welfare state and policies to support low- income groups. The challenge to fund social housing and its standard needs to be rethought in order to propose opportunities to integrate it with the thriving urban parts of Santiago. In 1932, one of the first and most complete efforts to define the concept of subsistence minimum and its relationship to the political-economic system was made by Karel Teige in his book The Minimum Dwelling. To the author, the term minimum dwelling does not mean a small dwelling. It should not be misunderstood as a reduction of a conventional apartment by shrinking its rooms or a miniaturized version of the bourgeois villa. On the contrary, the programme of the minimum dwelling should distance itself from conventional housing precedents and be understood as a new type. This new concept and

type emerges from the programme of standardization and industrialized mass production. Hence, the minimum dwelling should provide more comfort for less money, and its overall organization must be capable of delivering higher value and higher efficiency with less floor area: providing a new dwelling form. Thus, the pursuit of a minimal area and maximal habitability is the technical formula for minimum dwelling design. According to Teige, ‘this may also be labelled as the minimax dwelling concept: that is, a minimal space accommodating “maximal life” for the class of the subsistence minimum, defining a dwelling that does not fall below standards needed for biological survival (i.e., below acceptable sanitary and hygienic norms), one that provides its inhabitants with sufficient light, access to sun and air, and a sense of open space.’ 27 In order to asses the main issues emerging from the mini-max dwelling concept, Hannes Meyer’s Co-op Zimmer project - which in fact is not an architectural prototype but a performativescenographical photography - gives some clues to understand the root of this problem. Through the disposition of portable-mass production elements within a small space, Hannes Meyer attempts to provide a different representation of the standarized dwelling scenario. This is conceived as a nomadic space which points towards the creation of a ‘transient domesticity’. 28 The relationship between standars and the minimum dwelling is defined first by mass production and the possibility of mobility, and second by the need of rethinking the relationships with the city. Thus, the problem of standard is not an isolated problem represented by the dwelling unit but rather the definition of a system of relationships conceived as an urban lifestyle. According to Marina Lathouri, this could be understood as an ‘urban experience founded on a legitimization of both individual freedom and collective unity’. 29 Contrary to Hannes Meyer’s idea of standards and looking at the current

condition of social housing in Santiago de Chile - as well as those described by Teige in 1932 - it is possible to understand the provision of standards as an attempt to provide affordable dwellings by the intensification and reduction of the floor areas. The size of dwellings are totalling around 36 m2, and eventually less, pretending to provide a smaller and simplified version of a traditional self sufficient (bourgeois) villa. Even worse, the smallest dwelling has already become out-priced to the social housing segment in Santiago. Consequently, a desirable biological minimum represents a higher standard, which is unachievable for low-income groups. A quality minimum dwelling is financially impossible for all those who are currently living on the subsistence minimum. The idea of subsistence minimum is in fact more precisely defined by two limits. The upper one is the real minimum vivendi, which still allows one to survive. The lower one is defined as the modus non moriendi, which does not allow dying of hunger. Thus, the majority of people in need of a minimum dwelling are living closer to the second than the first.





3.2 Scopes of Standard

According to Teige, the real cause of the housing misery is poverty, the main outcome of capitalism. As he states:

simplifies the problem to a concentration of activities and programmes within the dwelling unit.

‘The question of the dwelling for those earning the subsistence minimum is for practical reasons impossible to solve, simply because the so-called subsistence minimum is identified with a living standard that, in effect, precludes them from a dwelling that, for all intents and purposes, would provide a minimally adequate standard as something affordable rather than as an unattainable luxury. In other words, the housing shortage is an inseparable part of the exploitative capitalist system.’

In contrast, the first question suggested by Teige unfolds the problem of housing and collectivity as a process of the dwelling unit becoming decompressed by the notion of common spaces, externalizing functions and programmes in several spheres (form private to public) and scales.

Nevertheless, Teige’s idea of subsistence minimum is not just limited to the provision of an adequate and performative dwelling unit. His concept is rather part of a larger system of relationships, roles, and scales that are essential to recognize and define the problem of minimum dwelling.

Teige, Karel, Minimum Dwelling: The Housing Crisis, Housing Reform (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002), p.42 .



Ibid. p.359.

Image 3.2.1: Minimum dwelling: The RSFSR Project and the decompression of the dwelling unit. Image 3.2.2: Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse and the idea of the dwelling unit as a self-sufficient component within a larger context. Image 3.2.3: The RSFSR Project and the distribution of associated domestic programmes in several scales and spheres of life (from the private to the public).

Instead of conceptualizing this problem as many of his contemporaries of architectural modernism - who faced it through the conviction in the massive production of prototypical units as singularprivate entities that create the residential building through a unit to whole exercise, such as Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation Teige finds in some early Russian socialist housing projects clues that give a wider and more accurate comprehension of the problem of standards and minimum dwelling. He writes, ‘the fundamental question facing the new type of socialist housing is to define the centre of gravity of the dwelling combine: is it represented by the common spaces or by the complex of individual rooms?’ It is apparent that the current social housing in Chile leans towards resolving the second question, which is based on a process of internalization and privatization at the expense or undervaluation of public space and the city. It reduces and

architectural agglomeration of elements and functions within the city? What kind of programmes and standards would enable the decompression of the dwelling unit, breaking with the logic of privatization and isolation?

One representative example of the communal space model is the RSFSR project of 1929 by the Committee of the Economic Soviet, which according to Teige was conceived as a ‘collective house’. The building attempts the embodiment of the city within a large and fragmented architectural artifact through the incorporation of several communal programmes that are associated with domesticity and daily life. The project radicalises the idea of common space, minimizing and defining private spaces as sleeping cubicles in order to maximize and provide a diversity of communal spaces such as dining hall, club halls, study rooms, library, classrooms, lecture rooms, children’s homes, gym, sports stadium, among others. Despite this example being a typical modernist project, which denatures the very idea of the city, it can be understood that life itself emerges from the typical elements of the city and not from an emulation of it through an isolated architectural artifact. The RSFSR project defines the problem of housing and its standards as a sum of episodes beyond the dwelling unit. The idea of the common, the agglomeration of parts and programmes thus can be seen as an effort to create a sense of centrality. Hence, this architectural example can inspire a new understanding of the current problems of housing, making it possible to raise the following questions: What kind of displacements does this model require in order to rethink the role of social housing within centralities? How is it possible to understand this model not as an isolated artifact, but as an 3.2.1






3.3 Transformation of Standards

Looking at the provision of standards throughout Santiago’s history, the first period (1910 - 1940) consists of a typological adjustment towards the definition of mid densities types (between 120 and 600 people per hectare). Ranging from courtyard to row house configurations, the built area was progressively reduced (from 200 to 60 m2) in order to define a suitable standard for the social housing. The normalization of standards arises with the proliferation of high density types between 1950 and 1970. The aim during this period was the regeneration and densification of the core, intending to create a definitive urban consolidation by borrowing certain premises from the architectural modernism. The dwelling unit sizes were around 70 m2 for a five people family. The problem of providing an appropriate standard was not only understood as a dwelling size project but rather as the access to a centralized system of opportunities and activities. By contrast, during the last period (from 1980 to 2010) density and standards were abruptly reduced in order to afford market-priced plots. This led first to locate social housing in settlements far from both the core and basic infrastructure. Second, this forced a radical shift in the standards, pretending therefore to shrink them within an isolated and idealized selfsufficient dwelling unit.

Image 3.3.1: Compared standards, densities and locations throughout Santiago’s social housing history. 3.3.1


Chapter 4




4.1 The Right to the City

32 Harvey, David, Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, (London: Verso, 2012), p.4. 33

Ibid. p.4.


Ibid. p.5.

Image 3.3.1: Compared standards, densities and locations throughout Santiago’s social housing history.

In order to relocate low-income groups within the city and to re-think the concept of standards for social housing, it is also necessary to ask the question of what kind city we want. According to David Harvey, we cannot dissociate this question from ‘the question of what kind of people we want to be, what kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of life we desire, what aesthetic values we hold. 32 Following this idea, the problem of accessing the city does not only imply a concrete answer to the sum of individual needs under the phenomenon of urban exclusion but also suggests a radical and collective change. This is understood by Harvey as the right of citizens to ‘change and reinvent the city more after our heart’s desire.’ 33 The possibility of changing our built environment is therefore a collective effort that needs to confront and challenge the current city trends, mainly manifested in one of the most powerful phenomena of capitalism: the process of urbanization. For Harvey, this process has always been a class phenomenon due to its constitutive correlation with the surplus production. In other words, the urbanization profits usually benefit a few and disfavours large groups of people. This phenomenon pushed to its highest expression - has been precisely the outcome of the Chilean neoliberal policy system, creating a city (Santiago) that makes explicit the extreme differences that emerge from the production of surplus. Thus, it is necessary to point out that the city and its urbanization processes - which have excluded low-income groups from their right to the city - should not be understood as a physical outcome of capitalism but rather as a tool capable of absorbing the products that capitalism produces. Harvey explains the way how capitalism operates in the following way: ‘They begin the day with a certain amount of money and end the day with more of it (as profit). The next day they have to decide what to do with the surplus money

they gained the day before. They face a Faustian dilemma: reinvest to get even more money or consume their surplus away in pleasures. The coercive laws of competition force them to reinvest, because if one does not reinvest then another surely will.’ 34 From Harvey’s understanding of capitalism it is possible to state that its very idea lies in the perpetual reproduction of surplus, which is manifested in the city through an endless process transformation and expansion. This would be therefore constantly pushing out the economically disadvantaged groups, mainly represented by social housing in the case of Santiago. Hence, the current deregulated urban scenario needs to be reversed to give back the right to the city to the low income groups and make them to plead for the kind of city that they want. From this conceptualization we can ask the following questions: What kind of relationship is it possible to establish between capitalism and the process of urbanization in order to guarantee an appropriate location within the city for social housing? What would be the housing policy model? What kind of stakeholders would drive this relationship? How this relationship would be reflected in a new policy-making for social housing?



4.2 Compared Housing Policies

Image 4.2.1: Typical communist housing development. Image 4.2.2: The neoliberal model and the understanding of housing provision as a sum of individual demands.

Going back to Karel Teige’s understanding of the housing problem, it is necessary to make evident the reasons that have led housing to its crisis, which according to him emerges from the political-economic system rooted in the self-regulation of the market and its inability to adequately protect vulnerable socio-economic groups. Thus it is necessary to rethink how to address and reverse the trends of the market and provide a different standard and subsistence minimum. Seeking a more equitable system, Teige proposes a complete redistribution of all housing properties - the very idea that miserably failed during the twentieth century. The idea of redistribution was implemented in ex-socialist countries by completely eliminating the effects of the market. In this system, housing is a natural right to healthy, modern, and self-contained housing not a commodity that the state should provide. Consequently, rent does not reflect on housing quality and should be very modest; rent is independent of the rent-paying capacities and the state intervenes to reduce inequalities and create collective ownership. Ironically, the implementation of this housing policy in ex-socialist countries resulted in distinct inequality. The state housing supply was unable to match and define demand according to family sizes, and the absence of the market did not promote increased social mobility and better housing quality, as the system lacked incentives. Opposing the idea of redistribution and following negative experiences with the implementation of public housing estates based on state protection, the United States pursued a different approach. They developed a completely different system in which the private market dominates with little government intervention. Thus, the government plays a marginal role by providing subsidies and economic incentives that pay the difference between the rent that a needy family can afford and the market rent charged by private landlords. However, in spite of the state support, public housing provision failed not as a result of the state provision, but

because of the high land costs, real-estate speculation, and the profit maximization by all stakeholders involved in the marketbased housing model. This led to the concentration of low income groups in undesirable urban areas. Looking at the failure of the two main models to provide housing, an alternative policy is needed. This new policy needs to be able to provide more autonomy to the social housing procurement while incorporating virtues of each model. The new model could be conceived as a cooperative system among the different stakeholders, creating incentives (and not merely obligations) in order to develop a more dynamic economic system for the provision of social housing and the construction of new urban centres. Thus an adequate definition of standard needs to consider the different scales that housing should address. The idea of an adequate standard should however not be reduced to a technical solutions or an efficient organizational system limited to the reduction of costs as Elemental proposes. One responsibility that the state should take is to give incentives for better infrastructural locations, which otherwise cannot be afforded by the private market. The creation of incentives to the private market and potential charitable institutions could become a framework to create wider business opportunities and attract private investments. This would not just allow diversification of social housing expenditure, but also a larger budget through which housing can become completely re-strategized. Incorporating economic incentives at several levels can also supply opportunities for low income groups to become economically active and enable a long-term affordable maintenance and upgrading strategy of housing.





4.3 The Catholic Church as a NonProfit Model

Hidalgo, Rodrigo, Tomás Errázuriz, Rodrigo Booth, ‘The Catholic Charity Housing in Santiago: institutions, constructors, and urban effects (Las Viviendas de la Beneficencia Católica en Santiago: instituciones, constructoras y efectos urbanos)’, Revista Historia (Instituto de Historia Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), 38 (2005), 327 - 366. (p.342). 35


Ibid. p.343.

Image 4.3.1: Población Leon XIII project urban floor plan. Image 4.3.2: Población Leon XIII’s church as one of the associated programmes. Images 4.3.3 - 4.3.4: Dwelling units.

The effective rethinking of social housing procurement has an inspirational and non-conventional example in the late nineteenth century in Santiago. Inspired by the encyclical Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, the Catholic Church organized a collaborative nonprofit group of influential people who wanted to increase social awareness and improve physical and moral conditions for the poor. The group understood this as a moral responsibility, believing that the provision of housing was the most powerful way to educate and overcome poverty. Thus, in order to fund the first housing project, the inhabitants rented the houses for a low price during a period of nearly fifteen years, until they became property owners. The project’s intention was not just to overcome the lack of the housing provision, but more importantly aimed to create a new project for the city. According to Rodrigo Hidalgo, ‘what this institution provided were not only private dwellings, but also a particular type, a dwelling programme, a street design, a neighbourhood with defined neighbours, green areas, leisure places, and meeting points; ultimately, what the institution intended to do was rather to provide a certain way of life.’ 35 The Catholic Church not only provided housing but also associated programmes (primary school, church, theatre, several oratories, and mausoleum) in order to raise the living standards of the impoverished working class. After a decade, this first social housing project led to the creation of Housing Trusts, who support low income groups and act in several points within the new residential periphery of Santiago. These points were conceived as new centralities which provided strategic buildings with the aim of providing social housing and further basic services. Through the collaboration of different non-profit institutions, programmes, and communal open spaces, the Housing Trusts intended to cover several aspects of the working class’s daily life, trying to provide a geographical and cultural identity to

their inhabitants. In Hidalgo’s words, the Housing Trusts were ‘real neighbourhoods understood as differentiated units within the city, where the individual dwelling was not any more a mere physical space, being displaced by several motivations and desires transformed in a moral and spiritual space.’ 36 The successful non-profit models of the first Catholic Church project and the Housing Trusts created something that in a different and contemporary way needs to be replicated: the emergence of a new social housing policy. In 1906 the state created the first housing policy, the Labour Dwellings Law (Ley de Habitaciones Obreras), which saw the state committing to its responsibility for social housing. Hence, instead of arguing that a new policy could merely provide more funds through the addition of the new stakeholders, what these models suggest is that there are some specific programmes and buildings-types that have the potential of affecting the residential environment by creating new centralities. This is another problem that the research will explore. It finally raises the question: What functions and institutional collaborations could become actors that will establish better social housing procurement and new centralities?








4.4 Rethinking Policy-Making: The Circular Housing Procurement

Instead of the current linear profit-seeking model, a circular incentive-based housing procurement is proposed. This would be driven by municipalities as non-profit institutions, which are legally capable of administrating government’s funds for social housing. By displacing the private from the centre of the procurement model, municipality - as a public entity - is proposed to be in charge of orchestrating a system of private and public investments. These are mainly based in the capacity of municipalities to define land uses and the built environment. Hence, it is proposed to create a system capable of creating radical increases of densities and construction coefficients in order to fund the needed social housing standard. By increasing the built coefficient in at least 50%, this new economic pretends to strongly attract the private sector, which usually does not profit over the 15% in mid-income groups developments and 10% in low-income developments. With this investments the municipality could charge a tax of a 20% of the private sector profit, using this money to afford the social housing needed standard. The new standard for social housing would be around 90 to 100 m2, thinking that in most of the cases these dwelling units are inhabited by large families, ensuring an appropriate dwelling size for at least 6 people.


Current Northern Area Maximum Constructibility 600 people/ha = 100 (100 m2) units/ha = 10.000 m2/ha = 1.0 Coefficient Proposed Municipal Incentive Built Area ≼ 50% more (15.000 m2/ha = 1.5 Coefficient ) than the Current Maximum Proposed Municipal Tax 20% of the Private Investment Profit Image 80: Proposed generic-circular procurement diagram. Image 81: Detailed system of incentives.

Proposed Social Housing Dwelling Unit Standard 90 - 100 m2 (6 people) Dwelling



Chapter 5

Towards a New Centrality


Towards a New Centrality

5.1 Rethinking Santiago’s Territorial Administration

In regards to the Metropolitan Region’s administration, five out of six provinces are provided of autonomous governorships which coordinate their regional districts. Santiago’s Province instead is divided in its thirty seven districts represented by autonomous municipalities, which hinders the administration of the city as a single entity. In order to define centralities as a way of reorganizing the urban form and local activities, it is first necessary to rethink the management of the city. Hence, instead of defining thirty seven local centres, the project proposes a larger administrative model, which would be given by the association among districts around the centre, capable of creating six clearly recognizable areas with autonomous centres. Looking at Santiago’s peripheral areas, the northern area, hidden by a mountain range, offers the possibility of connecting with the core, eastern commercialbusiness centres, and northern industrial areas. The proximity with these strategic points of the city makes the northern area the ideal scenario to create a first social housing centre. This would therefore inaugurate a system of centralities around the core.


Image 5.1.1: Metropolitan Region’s provinces. Image 5.1.2: Santiago’s 37 municipalities and scheme for the creation of 6 new centralities. Image 5.1.3: Santiago’s system of highways and current location of industries and other sources of labour within centralities. Image 5.1.4: Tube lines infrastructure and areas of capital accumulation. Image 5.1.5: The northern area and the proximity (potential connection) with the core, other centralities, and industry. 5.1.2






Towards a New Centrality

The northern area of the city is separately administrated by three municipalities: Conchali, Independencia and Recoleta. These are proposed to become in a single entity not only by its new administrative condition but through the creation of a set of activities and dynamics with the aim of transforming this area in an economiclocal centre. Thus, the northern centre should be capable of reinforcing and amplifying its domestic condition.

5.2 Santiago’s Northern Area and its Local Economies

As a brief description, in terms of transport infrastructure, the northern area is surrounded by highways and is crossed by two different underground lines. Also, in terms of the local economies, the main activities of the northern area are comprised by: - A wide range of formal and informal markets in the southern and western boundaries. - A semi-informal textile-commercial area in the south-east. - A large system of private and public hospitals and health-educational area close to the cemetery. - Mid-size workshops and a semi-industrial area in the centre. - A set of industrial activities in the eastern and northern boundaries. Beyond these activities, the northern area is mainly characterized by a large dominance of mid and low-income housing, which could be also reorganized through the project.

Image 5.2.1: Northern area´s municipal management centres.



Image 5.2.2: Northern area’s local economies and its relationship with infrastructure (2 tube lines and highways). 5.2.1




Towards a New Centrality

5.3 The Informal Fabric and its Types

The morphological condition of this area is given by low rise typologies that are proliferated within an informal, homogeneous, and poorly differentiated grid system. The range of low rise typologies consists of: traditional 1910’s row houses, 1990’s social housing types, informal detached houses, and semi-detached housing solutions. The typological diversity is bound by an intimate street condition, given by the proximity of dwelling units, where the passage has become in a dominant street-configuration.

Image 5.3.1: Northern area’s aerial view. Images 5.3.2 - 5.3.3: The informal fabric. Image 5.3.4 - 5.3.7: Quality of streets. Image 5.3.8: Early twentieth century’s row houses. Image 5.3.9: 1990’s neoliberal-social housing row houses. Image 5.3.10: Informal detached dwellings. Image 5.3.11: Semi-detached houses. 5.3.1













Towards a New Centrality

5.4 The Municipal Junction and Project Site

Following the fine and fragile fabric condition, the project site takes form through some of the larger plots around the municipal junction. The chosen pieces of fabric open the possibility to re-think the morphological condition of the area, potentially becoming in a different but more coherent system. In order to test this idea, as a morphological exercise, a rough intensification of the current fabric could create a set of new differentiated areas. These, however, would blend and disappear once are read as a complex whole. Hence, in this potential scenario emerge the following questions: What type is the most appropriate to make possible a housing-economic centre and what kind of typological transformations does the chosen type need?

Image 5.4.1: Municipal junction and the need of reinforcing its relationship with infrastructure. Image 5.4.2: Large plots and the project site. Image 5.4.3: Simulation of an intensification of the fabric. Image 5.4.4: Potential scenario for a coherent fabric. 5.4.1





Chapter 6

Typology and the Idea of the City


Typology and the Idea of the City

6.1 High Density Types: Architectural Modernism and the Megablock Failure

Le Corbusier, The City of Tomorrow and its Planning (New York; Dover Publica􀆟ons, 1987), p.75. 34

Image 6.1.1: Density and open ground diagram. Image 6.1.2: Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse diagram. Image 6.1.3: Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse ground view drawing. Image 6.1.4: The garden city detached dwelling units and open ground diagram. Image 6.1.5: Clarence Perry’s neighbourhood unit inspired in the garden city model. Image 6.1.6: Letchworth Garden City’s residential area. Image 6.1.7: Typo-morphological configurations and transformations throughout architectural modernism in Santiago.

Seeking for an appropriate type to carry out this design project it is first necessary to unfold the potential of Santiago’s typological legacy and its idea of the city. Looking at the implementation of the architectural modernism, the Portales Neighbourhood Unit (UVP) Masterplan, developed in the mid 50’s, is a prototypical example based on the extreme proliferation of the communalshared space. Its urban configuration consists of the agglomeration of several free-standing modernist blocks, creating a new idea of block, defined as Megablock. The urban-spatial condition is given by the implementation of paths instead of conventional streets in order to create a green-residential landscape; idea influenced by two main modernist models: the Ville Radieuse and Garden City. The first attempts the densification of residential areas through the proliferation of slab blocks, a strategy which makes life occur within the building, concentrating in it public and private spheres. Horizontal circulations, or the idea of the street, are vertically recreated and widely used as public space, connecting buildings that define the block perimeter and allow the release of the ground. This provides necessary natural lighting to the building cells and the creation of large public gardens. According to Le Corbusier, ‘The more dense the population of a city is the less are the distances that have to be covered. The moral, therefore, is that we must increase the density of our cities... The towns of to-day can only increase in density at the expense of the open spaces which are the lung of a city.’ 34







The second one, the Garden City, as a low rise and low-density private model, represents the suburban ideal of a communitarian life around private neighbourhoods. The houses are located in the centre of the plot, creating a hierarchical street system, defining them as public, common, vehicular or pedestrian. Each dwelling unit is provided with a private green surrounding and




Typology and the Idea of the City

becomes part of a set of houses which in turn are part of a housing unit which interacts with the others through the main streets and parks. Following this idea, Aldo Rossi says: ‘The relationship between housing and family, with all of its cultural and political implications, found interesting application in so-called communitarian ideology. Here, the relationship between the local community and a form of democracy, between the spatial dimension as a moment in the social life, is well illustrated.’ 35 Nevertheless both influences have miserably failed. On the one hand, the extreme proliferation of the ground understood as communal spaces - and the lack of clear spatial differentiations have manifested in ownership problems, resulting in the abandonment of public space.

35 Rossi, Aldo, The Architecture of the City, trans. by Diane Ghirardo and Joan Ockman (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982), pp.85.

Colquhoun, Alan, ‘The Superblock’, in Essays in Architectural Criticism: Modern Architecture and Historical Change (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981), pp. 83-103 (p. 101). 36


Ibid, p.90.

Images 6.1.8 - 6.1.11: UVP’s block and the abandonment of communalopen spaces. Images 6.1.12 - 6.1.15: UVP’s block and the appropriation and mutation of communal-open spaces. Images 6.1.16 - 6.1.19: UVP’s street transformations.

On the other hand, the strong relationship between housing and ground floor has allowed a natural and horizontal growth, which is visible through the appropriation of public space and the modification of its limits. The ground ownership, boundary’s fragility, lack of density, and private proclivity of the row housing typology, make difficult the configuration of a unitary dwelling set and the creation of a typological common language. Through the boundary modifications, the street, as clear public or common organizational system, disappears with the rise of spontaneous and ambiguous open spaces. The weakening of the street lies in the individualization of the dwelling unit as an isolated element in the row housing arrangement. In contrast to this phenomenon, Alan Colquhoun states: ‘In the medieval street each house forms a metonymic unity but is different from its neighbour in the proportional relation of the parts making up this unity. Clearly no information could be transmitted, either about the individual house or the group, unless the elements in the metonymic scheme formed a scheme.’ 36

ground - as well as most of the Modern Movement that followed this typological approach as an answer for the problem of housing - was manifested in the wrong hermeneutics regarding the new interpretations and proliferation of the idea of street, leading it to its blurring and collapse. Regarding this problem, Colquhoun states: ‘The cybernetic model consists of ideas according to which the vitality of the city can be recreated by sufficiently subtle techniques of intervention, simulating the feedback mechanism found in biology or machinery... The weakness of this model is that it does not account for the experience of the city... Moreover, change, which is the basis of the model, is regarded as permissive, rather than the result of conflict.’ 37


In conclusion, the UVP master plan has undergone deep changes in its ground and communal space definition. The mutation from streets to paths and its vertical proliferation has not created a clear and permanent order, capable of establishing a relationship system both internally and with the city. Hence, the communalshared space has been transformed into a private, abandoned and disjointed space.


The UVP Project’s inability of defining the 6.1.16












Image 6.1.20: UVP original project. 6.1.20


Image 6.1.21: UVP’s current state: unplanned ground mutations. 6.1.21


Typology and the Idea of the City

6.2 Row Housing Types: Urban Sprawl and the Infill Block-Strategy

In 1979, after the policy for the urban land release, the housing policy changed towards the idea of the proliferation of private 100 m2 plots through detached housing types. This policy created a strong and uncontrolled urban sprawl phenomenon, leading to an extreme differentiation between urban form and type. The main reason of this disagreement was the complete internalization of the block. This could be understood because the lack of both boundaries definition and a coherent system for the proliferation of the type. Following this first neoliberal period, nowadays, with the delimitation of the city boundaries and the accelerated process of spatial-urban proximity, social housing has intended to redefine its relationship with the block. The strategy for a potential agreement between urban form and type consisted of revisiting the row house model as a more compact and efficient system for dwelling arrangements. However, the urban proliferation of this new row housing type has not been capable to establish a clear relationship with the urban form. Instead of creating a system capable of operating in different scales, this model is mainly based on filling empty available blocks through a simplistic repetition of a previously defined set of dwelling units, which define a twisted and isolated block form.


Image 6.2.1: First neoliberal period: urban sprawl and 100 m2 plots policy. Image 6.2.2: Second and current neoliberal period: city boundaries and the revisiting of the row house model. Image 6.2.3: Typo-morphological configurations and transformations since 1980 until now in Santiago. 6.2.2




The lack of an urban form becomes evident in the East Riverbank Social Recovery Master Plan, project which is developed along the Mapocho River for its banks redevelopment by eliminating marginal camps and slums established for several years.

Image 6.2.4: East Riverbank Social Recovery Master Plan. Image 6.2.5: The current row house proliferation and the informal infill block strategy. 6.2.4




Typology and the Idea of the City

6.3 The Cité Type: Reinforcement of the Street and the Secondary Network for the City

Unlike the unsuccessful previously described type-periods, the Cité, a largely proliferated type during the early twentieth century, deals with row house arrangements in a much more consistent way. The Cité is a set of houses arranged by a continuous facade facing an intimate corridor, which is used as a communal-shared space. This type creates a domestic-pedestrian system of inner-block streets that connect with the traditional chessboard fabric, becoming in a secondary network for the city. Its name has its origin in this special way of relating to the open spaces due to the spatial proximity and virtual appropriation of the street, which recalls the cité or medieval walled citadel. Following the clear urban structure found in the Cité, the potential relationship between this successful street-based housing type and the city will be explored in this project, attempting its amplification in different scales and establishing a range of new relationships with the northern area’s local economies.


Image 6.3.1: Traditional chessboard fabric. Image 6.3.2: The Cité as an intensification of the traditional chessboard fabric. Image 6.3.3: Typo-morphological configurations and transformations during the early twentieth century in Santiago. 6.3.2




Typology and the Idea of the City

The Cité’s street could be defined as a linear void which orchestrates the whole arrangement of dwelling units, levels of privacy and lighting. The Cité includes a wide range of row-housing solutions in order to achieve different dwelling sizes, which are associated with a diversity of family incomes. Thus, the Cité was not only a model capable of achieving a clear and coherent urban system but also a model for social inclusion. Nevertheless, the rethinking of the Cité needs to address first its mono-programme (residential) condition and second its inability to incorporate the problem of the car, reasons why this housing type has become obsolete for the contemporary city. 6.2.5


Image 6.2.5: Dwelling unit: proximity of facades and the virtual appropriation of the corridor (communal-open spaces). Image 6.2.6: Diversity of dwelling solutions. Image 6.2.7: Cité’s obsolescence Image 6.2.8: The corridor as a landscape and lighting system. 6.2.7




Typology and the Idea of the City

The relationship with the sky is fundamental to understand the deep structure of the Cité. The overlapping of floors, as happens in the slab block arrangement, completely modifies the internal architectural condition of the Cité, shifting the idea of open space, spatial proximity, and virtual appropriation, to the idea of elevated and blind corridors.

Image 6.2.9: Cité´s architectural elements Image 6.2.10: Slab block’s architectural elements Image 6.2.11 - 6.2.12: Cité’s typical pedestrian corridors. Image 133: The slab block internal corridor. 6.2.9







Typology and the Idea of the City

The range of block solutions based on these open sky corridors varies from one to several connections or access with the primary network, which are some times provided with different hallways solutions.

Image 6.2.14: Cité’s typical urban arrangements connecting with one, two, or several access (connection with the primary-main fabric). Image 6.2.15: Cité’s typical dwelling unit arrangements and their abstraction in simple (enfilade, corridor, and courtyard) and hybrid organizational systems. 6.2.14


Nevertheless, it is possible to state that the typological richness of the CitĂŠ lies in its range of dwelling unit solutions rather than in the urban ones. These are structured through the combination of enfilade, corridor, and centralized arrangements. From the three basic arrangements, new and hybridized configurations could emerge through the combination of these. The outcome would offer a set of more complex solutions, relating back to the already existing dwelling units of the CitĂŠ.



Typology and the Idea of the City

Image 6.2.16: Simple matrix. Image 6.2.17: Hybrid matrix. 6.2.16


The organizational richness of the unit could be tested by shifting it to the block scale. This displacement would make possible the emergence new urban solutions in several organizational conditions such as linear, multi-linear, grid, and radial.



Typology and the Idea of the City





Image 138: Northern area’s geographical scale of enclosure. Image 139: The northern area’s cemmetery as a large artifact and its scale of enclosure. Image 140: The traditional fabric and the in between block-void scale of enclosure. Image 141: The Cité and the intimate-corridor scale of enclosure Image 142: Collage of scales and organizational systems.


The set of new block arrangements could also be complemented with Santiago’s idea of the city. Thus, it is possible to understand Santiago through at least four scales of enclosure. The first is the geographical one, given by mountains. The second, by large artifacts such as the cemetery and its condition of a city within the city. The third, by voids emerging in the traditional fabric’s empty blocks. The fourth and last one is given by the Cité and its intimate linear voids. Hence, through the logic of the Cité, the project will therefore explore potential relationships with economic driven programs, creating the transition among the different scales of enclosure and spatial conditions. This is understood as a sequence of architectural functions through the typological reinvention of the Cité.



Image 6.2.23: Visual Manifesto Image 6.2.24: Conclusion of concepts and the needed typological change strategy. 6.2.23


RICHER BLOCK MORPHOLOGY Organizational and Spatial Complexity

OVERLAPPING OF PROGRAMMES Intensification of Activities and Economies within the Residential Block

DISPLACEMENT OF OPEN SPACES Voids Ownership Through Complementary Programmes

Ground Appropriation Through Street Systems

The Cité Type and the Rethinking of the Typological Stigmatization

The limited linear-block arrangement of the Cité can be transformed towards the creation of a richer set of block configurations. Based on the mixture of enfilade, courtyard, and corridor arrangements, the new morphological condition attempts to make possible a more complex enclosed order and spatial quality.

The mono-programme condition of the Cité needs to be transformed by exploring different relationships with other programmes. This would imply to generate a layering of activities within the residential block, which would create an even more complex block condition. Thus, the proposed vertical system of relationships would allow a more performative urban block.

The consecutive failure of open spaces has shown the inability of social housing to deal with this issue. Following this idea, a displacement of this concept is proposed. By removing communal-open spaces from the administration of social housing, these could be amalgamated and administrated by associated-domestic programmes, which could share these spaces with the community.

By rethinking and delimiting the provision of voids destined for social housing, it is possible to sharply increase the block density. Furthermore, instead of releasing the ground with the introduction of high density types, the typological transformation points towards the delimitation of the ground through a street strategy, creating a balance between vertical and horizontal high-density types.

Instead of limiting social housing to a predefined range of type-solutions schemes, the Cité is proposed as a typological interface. This is first understood as a strategy capable of answering to certain needs that the Cité cannot provide. Second, is conceived as a way of clearly define the boundaries and spatial quality of public spaces, attempting to providw a balance between collective form and individual-private requirements.




Chapter 7

The CitĂŠ Project


The Cité Project

7.1 Block Amplifications

Based on the outcomes obtained from the Cite’s matrices, the project will attempt to explore a richer set of spatial and organizational structures based on the logic of street. However, the amplification of the relationships that the Cité establishes with the city does not imply to bring back the traditional fabric and its restrictive mono-layer condition. Rather, it opens new horizons to architecturally respond to a diversity of needs - from the spheres of the public and the private - which in their collectivity will force the emergence of a new and much more complex urban form, manifested in a new fabric for the city. Thus, the threedimensional condition has to be explored in order to unfold the performance of the explored type-solutions and also to speculate about the potential associations that these can achieve.

Image 7.1.1: Enrichment of block arrangements. Image 7.1.2: The Cite’s traditional fabric. Images 7.1.3 - 7.1.4: Three-dimensional-performance matrices. 7.1.1








The three-dimensional outcomes of the CitÊ’s matrix - defined at the beginning as a set of residential blocks - can achieve an even more complex configuration. A new step towards the hybridization of the original CitÊ-block can open the possibility of exploring a palette of activities and densities related with the domestic life of low to mid-income groups and the local economies found in the northern area of Santiago. The urban and spatial quality resulting from this process of typological change would be given by the relationships that is possible to establish among the diversity of arrangements and their ability to respond to specific needs. Thus, these architectural instances should not be understood as isolated elements within a larger context but rather as parts capable of creating a coherent urban system. Hence, the potential of type would be given by the organizational hermeneutic that emerges from the infinite possibilities of association among these types, defining the city in a specific manner through every type-arrangement.



The CitĂŠ Project

7.2 Potential Typological Scenario

Image 7.2.1: Project axonometric.

The diversity of types emerging from the CitĂŠ can now start to be tested in a new urban scenario, conceived as the design proposal of this research: the social housing centre. The range of possible relationships between residential areas and other programmes become the centre of this typological exploration. The project is therefore understood as a set of urban interventions - possible and not definitive scenarios - which pretend to push forward both a new policy and a larger idea of standard for social housing.




The CitĂŠ Project

The programme, based on the provision and reinforcement of the main local economies, is distributed through a hierarchical system of axis - four levels of hierarchy - which allow a spatial organization in different scales through courtyard, enfilade, and corridor arrangements disposed around the centralized civic centre.

7.3 Urban Strategy

The function of the primary axis is to connect with the currently existing infrastructure, given by two underground lines that correspond to two different lines. This creates a infrastructural highdensity courtyard-based corridor that agglomerates a diversity of commercial activities, which drive the current local economy of the northern area. The secondary axis is understood as an enfilade of programmes. This urban arrangement answers to a diversity of economies (health-university education, technical education, stadium, civic square, concert hall, and offices) connected and aligned through a continuous circulation provided with different spatial conditions. The tertiary axes are comprised by corridor arrangements which are related with the provision of labour spaces (industry and workshops). Finally, the quaternary axes are mainly related with housing, providing student accommodation in order to answer to answer the programmes related to education. In regards to the organization of voids and open spaces, the urban strategy proposes a circuit (promenade) around the civic centre. This connects the most important public activities, reinforcing the idea of the centre and connecting the peripheral voids, creating therefore a system of voids. The idea of centrality is also addressed through an infrastructural strategy, creating a tram circuit which connect the four closer but not formally related underground stations.

Image 7.3.1: Project urban floor plan Image 7.3.2: Axes and urban arrangement diagram Image 7.3.3: Distribution of voids reinforcement diagram.


infrastructural 7.3.1





The CitĂŠ Project

7.4 Phasing Strategy

Image 7.4.1: Model photograph

The project does not pretend to be a huge building but a potential final configuration and scenario capable of answering the needs of low-income groups and the city through several residential-economy types which could be completed in 8 phases.




PHASE 1 2015 - 2018 Markets and Primary Infrastructure The project starts reorganizing and formalizing the architecturally precarious but influential economy of markets. These are spread in the northern area through large sheds and play a key role in the distribution and sale of food and associated agricultural products for the whole city. Apart from this programme, this phase also attempts to clearly establish a relationship with infrastructure, proposing the transformation of a simple underground station in an intermodal station. This would be able of organizing the whole bus system that connects Santiago with the northern Metropolitan rural areas (current location of social housing) and with the north of the country, whose main infrastructure is given by a highway system (trains are almost inexistent). Also, the project also rebuilds the largest stadium of the northern area, incorporating a circuit of commercial areas in its perimeter.





Image 7.4.2: Northern area’s markets and the large sheds. Image 7.4.3: Vegetable market interior. Image 7.4.4: Santa Laura stadium. Image 7.4.5: The bus infrastructural system.









PHASE 2 2018 - 2021 Commercial Areas and Markets The second phase of the project agglomerates the rest of the market economies (flower central market, food halls, and meat-fish markets, among others) and also proposes a formalization of the largest textile-commercial area of the city which takes place around mid-size textile industries. This phase completes the main axis of the project, creating a corridor with a large set of commercial activities. This phase completes the main axis of the project, creating a corridor with a large set of commercial activities and also connects with the second proposed infrastructural point (underground station). In regards to the private investment, this phase is the one that concentrates the highest built coefficient and therefore the largest private investment in order to provide funds to reinvest in future programmes, infrastructure, and public spaces of the project.





Image 7.4.6: Patronato neighbourhood and the textile-market economy. Image 7.4.7: The informal condition of commercial areas. Image 7.4.8: The flower central market. Image 7.4.9: Food halls.









PHASE 3 2021 - 2024 Offices, Park, and Cultural Building The third phase proposes the implementation of high-density office areas, understood as an almost nonexistent economic activity within the northern area. In order to promote the implementation of this urban-programme, the project associates this programme with a large amount of green areas, defined as a park. This strategy attempts to emulate the urban phenomenon that is now happening around the park, which would also attract large investments form the private sector. Finally, this phase proposes the construction of the first two public building, defined as a concert hall, programme inexistent in the northern area, and a library, which would be located on top of an underground station. This would therefore become in the third infrastructural connection point of the project.



Image 7.4.10: Office areas in Santiago’s eastern area. Image 7.4.11: Municipal theatre of Santiago. Image 7.4.12: An example of emerging office developments in Santiago. 7.4.12









PHASE 4 2024 - 2027 Workshops, Civic Centre and Domestic Infrastructure The fourth phase of the project is firstly comprised by a high-density reorganization and intensification of the current workshop activities, mainly located at the centre of in the northern area. These consist of a set of different workshop activities such as mechanical workshops, textile workshops, and furniture workshops, among others. The size of these workshops vary from relatively small working areas to large sheds, which are created to allow people to sell the stuff that they produce. Apart from the workshop area, this phase attempts to consolidate the project’s core through the construction of the civic building - concentrating the three municipalities within it - and the creation of two circuits around the core. The first is conceived as a pedestrian one, allowing the possibility to carry out a circular enfilade of programmes. The second circuit takes place through the incorporation of the fourth infrastructural point (underground station) and the implementation of a tram line and thus reinforcing the centrecondition of this area.





Image 7.4.13: Large collective (selling and exhibition spaces) workshops. Image 7.4.14: Furniture workshops. Image 7.4.15: Mid-size workshops. Image 7.4.16: Mechanical workshops.









PHASES 5 AND 7 2027 - 2030 / 2034 - 2036 Industry The fifth and seventh phases of the project explore the incorporation of labour through the provision of industry. This economy is mainly located in the western area but, following the logic of the rest of the industrial areas attached to the peripheral highway, this is potentially occupying the northern boundaries as a continuous industrial development around the city. Thus, the project attempts to incorporate a range of mid-to-large spaces capable of incorporating economic activities that are usually far from residential areas. The location of this economic activity within the project is related with the creation of an axis pointing towards a currently existing industrial area and thus open the possibility of incorporating the city with these large suburban types. 7.4.17




Images 7.4.17 - 7.4.18: Large industrial spaces examples. Images 7.4.19 - 7.4.20: Manufacturing and industrial production examples.









PHASES 6 AND 8 2030 - 2033 / 2037 - 2039 Health and Education The sixth and eighth phases of the project respond to the largest agglomeration in the city of public hospitals, university medical education, and private health centres. However, these are completely unrelated among each other, lacking any shared infrastructure. Furthermore, despite its large size, the hospitals barely manage to answer the public demand, which is represented by the whole northern Metropolitan area. Consequently, due to the proposed increase of inhabitants for this area, the projects addresses the health coverage by implementing a set of programmes related to this issue such as clinical centres, student housing, and university health centres. In regards to the issue of education, the project also proposes the implementation of technical education centres - completely absent in this area of the city - which would answer a significant demand for education providing from low-income groups.





Image 7.4.20: San JosĂŠ Hospital (public). Image 7.4.21: University of Chile Clinical Hospital (private). Image 7.4.22: University of Chile school of medicine. Image 7.4.23: Typical technical education centre.









The CitĂŠ Project

7.5 Conclusion: Multiplicy of Scales

The current and neoliberal notion of social housing has been mainly understood as a sum of isolated problems (individuals in need of decent housing ) which have been mainly addressed through the idea of home-ownership and a privatized subsidy-driven policy. In order to make this possible, a set of sub-standard strategies (design guides, typological restrictions, among others) have been carried out, making possible to afford both the dwelling construction and the plot. Nevertheless, this sub-standarized understanding of social housing have completely disassociated the relationship between the dwelling unit and its context, which is nowadays far from appropriate infrastructure, labour, and opportunities, leading social housing to a lifestyle of exclusion. Thus, it is possible to state that the current idea of standards conceives the social housing problem from the unit to the city. Contrary to this possition, the proposed design project does not understand standards as a problem of dimensionality and efficiency. Rather, the project seeks the provision of standards through the construction of the city in a progression of several and differenttly addressed scales and spheres of domestic life. The proposed standard can therefore be manifested in the construction of a multiplicity of scales shown in the next pages.

Image 1: Chilean government subsidy diagram Image 2: Socio-economic scopes of the current subsidy Image 3: Social housing procurement diagram



SCALE 1 Block Fragment This scale is provided of a layering of uses and programmes, pointing towards a more complex idea of coexistence and the association of labour activities in the small scale.



Social Housing Dwelling Unit The 95 m2 dwelling unit attempts a differentiation of the pedestrian and vehicular circulation by hiding cars bellow the houses. This solution can also be used by mid-income groups, using both parking spaces instead of one in the case social housing (the other parking space can be used as a small workshop, small shop, or cellar).



Mid-Income High-Rise Dwelling Unit The 95 m2 high-rise dwelling unit answers to a typical mid-income family house programme.



Market The ground floor is in this case defined by the market activity, conceived as system of columns that make possible an open plan for commercial acitivities.



Layering of Programmes Diagrams and spatial representation of the block fragment layering and its complex arranged of units and programmes.



SCALE 2 Block and Street System This scale is provides a system of streets, incorporating a corridorpedestrian landscape. Also, the layering of programmes point towards a more complex idea of coexistence and the association of labour activities in the small scale.



SCALE 3 Domestic Programmes This scale incorporates open-communal spaces which are driven by associateddomestic programmes such as nurseries, primary schools, general practitioners, and small shops.



SCALE 4 Economic Fragment This scale relates housing with a set of economic activities, which are able to provide larger open spaces, appropriated through a office towers system. Also, the fragment scale provides the first relationship with infrastructure by connecting with the underground station.



SCALE 5 The Relationship with the Core This scale shows the need of establishing a relationship with the main economic activities and programmes of the domestic centre and with larger infrastructure.



SCALE 6 The Relationship among Fragments The diversity of economic fragments amalgamated through the proposed artifact allow to create the notion of centrality due to its ability to resolve a significant part of the domestic life within the same area. Thus, the set of urban configurations proposed in this model points towards the provision of a notion of autonomy to the social housing centre’s inhabitants.



SCALE 7 The Relationship with the City This scale attempts to establish a clear relationship with first the core and also with other potential domestic centralities that could emerge inspired in the social housing centre. This would not only modify the suburban scenario of Santiago but also the performance and the whole system of relationships within the city. To conclude, the construction of the proposed scalar transitions can be conceptualized from the notion of simultaniety. This condition is therefore understood as the needed standard for both social housing and the city.












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The Social Housing Centre: Type, Urban Form, Policy-making and Standards in Santiago de Chile  

MPhil dissertation by Alvaro Arancibia (2013, AA Projective Cities)

The Social Housing Centre: Type, Urban Form, Policy-making and Standards in Santiago de Chile  

MPhil dissertation by Alvaro Arancibia (2013, AA Projective Cities)