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Who we are We are a private foundation, nonprofit, stationed in the city of Concepción, Bío Bío Region, Chile [one of the most seismic city of the around the world and has suffered throughout its history 8 large earthquakes] and we emerged after the sixth largest magnitude earthquake in the history of mankind, February 27, 2010. The Foundation aims to preserve and protect the architectural heritage destroyed by natural disasters and manthrough techniques, principles and policies for reuse and recycling of debris symbolic in public open space. Under the order described above, the Foundation aims to be a way to spread a vision that is specified through an interdisciplinary network of international support, both theoretical and practical, which adopts a new approach to heritage conservation, to strengthen economic identities destroyed through binding participation among communities, public and private sectors. In order to its purpose and vision expressed before, the Foundation aims to generally promote the safeguarding, conservation and recycling of tangible architectural destroyed by disasters. Then in order to fulfill its purpose and manifestation of his vision and goal, the Foundation recognizes, without being exhaustive, the following objectives: 1)



Raise awareness about the importance of safeguarding the heritage, this debris as symbolic as a resource for sustainable development in disaster-vulnerable communities 2) Cooperate with national and international principles, techniques and policies for the conservation of architectural heritage, disaster and environmental protection. 3) Enhance the public space as an element of memory development and awareness to disasters both in prevention, response and renewal of cities and communities vulnerable 4) Provide new looks estate renewal, developing positive effects at the cultural and environmental tourism.



Vulnerabilities and amnesias

Day after day hundreds of urban memories are being destroyed by natural and artificial disasters affecting our planet, generating dreadful amnesia. This is having an effect on architectural heritage and sometimes even resulting in deaths, because of our lack of prevention and response to them.

After a catastrophe, we forget our memories and life experiences, which are our main shields against foreign cultures that are attempting to swallow us. We also forget about prevention in our cities, since after inappropriate planning and construction we generate more catastrophes, complicating everything even more by the incorrect handling of trauma and loss. Therefore, we need to change this negativity approaching the reconstruction of a city with the right attitude, and even more when the threat of new catastrophes persists. There must be memory processes, not only for the generation that has been affected –as a resilience mechanism- but also for the future generations –as an offering. What have previous generations done to remember and commemorate catastrophes and architectural heritage? What is the origin of disaster? Is it ignorance or lack of prevention? Are we aware of our right and duty to memory? How can architecture and city planning assume responsibility over this situation? What should we remember? How do we do it? How can we bequeath the past to new generations? How can we discover the affective dimension of memories and information? How do we turn the negative features of catastrophe into something positive? This philosophy intends to answer these questions introducing a new philosophy of life and perception, which may be considered attractive because it leads to a new way of looking at things around us. What we used to consider ugly will now be considered beautiful. What used to be seen as useless will now become useful, because we will assign value to a material which represents the destruction generated by an earthquake, a tsunami or a slide. However, this material -resulting from destruction and historically considered as “waste”- is the only tangible testimony of the hope in a community’s memories: symbolic rubble. What we used to consider a weakness may become our main strength to preserve memory. Symbolic rubble stops being considered as waste and starts being considered as material to be used in projects, filled with memories that will help us solve completely the various cultural problems produced by a catastrophe. At present, architecture, geography and city planning do not address nor teach waste management in an efficient way. Moreover, urban planners and architects tend to design with brand-new materials, they do not incorporate materials that have had a previous use or that have deteriorated, contributing even more to the destruction of our landscape, the exploitation of our natural resources for the construction of our cities. Therefore, symbolic rubble must not be seen as an element at the end of a life cycle but as a new process of regeneration. We need to be aware that it is an inexhaustible source of materials, which will always be available in our cities and they must be integrated as a sustainable development resource. We need to make its origin known, since symbolic rubble comes entirely from the destruction of our architectural elements, so that it becomes absolutely feasible for architects and city planners to use it and generate changes in their designs, accepting the death of buildings and generating their transformation. But where should these isolated materials be reused or recycled? Where should the culture of memory by generated? The answer to these questions is in public spaces. Public space and symbolic rubble are in perfect symbiosis to generate a sense of property in people, which makes them love spaces, finding in them spiritual delight for activating their memories and that is what we can identify as beauty. It is a beauty that has not been discovered yet, a new beauty that has not been explored, since memories are its main inspiration. Through this kind of beauty, a new ritual for the loss of a loved one, with whom we shared for decades. They are our architectural heritage, and walls, pillars, milestones and fragments, after their destruction, have the chance of becoming brand-new urban elements, exclusive, universal and polifunctional, just like urban furniture, pavings and topographic elements in public space. This approach considers heritage as a renewable resource which is never lost but just transformed.


The symbolic Rubble

The word RUBBLE initially generates the association with rubbish. The dictionary of the Real Academia EspaĂąola, RAE, “wastes, trash, rubble that is left from bricklaying work or a collapsed or destroyed buildingâ€?. Unfortunately, this definition is gaining strength and we adopt it as a social convention when we consider rubble as something useless, avoidable which needs to be hidden. We reject decay as something negative because we do not see its value, let alone its possible uses. However, even if we do not want to, we are destined to live with it because, as we go on building and expanding our cities, we do not consider that as a result of a condition of urban life or an unexpected event like a catastrophe, rubble will always be there. We cannot erase them, as decay is inherent to the development of cities because they are living entities. Historically, the topic of rubble has never been solved. In the process of projecting and renewing spaces, architects and city planners seek to innovate focusing on the creation and use of new materials. Rubble is not considered simply because they do not know it and consider it an element that has already completed a life cycle. This search for the new has triggered a dissociation of rubble as material for projects, so designing with rubble is not considered as an option. However, when do we consider an element to be waste? When does a material become useless, with no merits to be reused? Although these definitions categorically stress the concept of waste for those elements which were

once part of our urban landscape, we have decided to go beyond and find their meaning. It is difficult to understand that, from one day to the next, what was valuable becomes disposable, generating no doubts to society nor reconsiderations as to whether these elements should be used and considered as materials for projects, where the process of adaptability and cultural change are critical. The rubble you can see that it has a dual memory which will help us remember two absences after a catastrophe: amnesia with respect to tragedy and patrimonial loss. Firstly, rubble generates a disturbance because it represents a negative memory, since it is associated with destruction, an unstable condition and death. Moreover, one of the most common methods to evaluate the damage produced is by considering the amount of rubble. But there is another loss that arises among its multiple pasts and its functionality. This is the loss of another kind of memory which is completely different from the previous one. It is a positive memory, since it becomes the only tangible symbol of our identity, where inert matter and the fusion of past memories supply it with life. RUBBLE WITH MEMORY Unlike generic rubble, rubble with memory is associated with affection which is generated with the passing of time and the experiences lived by a community.

Rubble with memory should never be disposed of because it is attractive as it is associated with a previous human use. This rubble has an evocative power of the passing of time and transmits, with its remains, both the memory of the building already gone and the present perception of the catastrophe which makes us feel incomplete. Depending on whether it has an individual or a collective appeal, this rubble can be classified into personified rubble and symbolic rubble In order to analyse this classification, we must remember that a society is made up of individual and collective aspects. Therefore, there is a memory for each of them. The first one refers to the importance that the individual gives to his possessions and the level of appropriation, generating an affection to the building which is based on past experiences, memories and living his/her life in them. A personal past, present and future, unique and unrepeatable, is built in an interaction with furniture and buildings. As to buildings, humans attach value to architectural objects, to the extent of personifying them. Activities such as studying, playing, creating, living or praying enable us to identify ourselves with the building where these activities are performed. We feel a personal attachment to such places, we satisfy our individual projects for personal realization, we get joy from them so they become a part of our life history and identity. One of these cases is our house. It is the best example to contextualize this category because it triggers evocations in those who lived there, so its future rubble will have an enormous value for the owner or family. This is what we call personified rubble.



of rubble based on memory

Piece rubble

Fragment rubble

Dust rubble When the attachment to the building goes beyond personal interests and the complete loss of an element generates a devastating feeling for a whole community, a neighbourhood, a city, a commune, a region or a country, the remains of this architectural object are considered symbolic rubble. It has a intangible heritage value because it belongs to a building which is part of collective memory, both for the meaning of the building where the rubble comes and for the memory of the catastrophe that generated it. Therefore it cannot be classified as disposable. When we talk about architectural heritage we usually think about those buildings which have been officially declared as such. In Chile, law 17.288 regulates national monuments. Every monument which has been protected by this law, after a long process of accreditation as an element of importance for the country, is recognized as heritage and is automatically under the tuition of the State, represented by the Council of National Monuments. This organ depends on the Ministery of Education and is at present undergoing a process of regulatory and institutional change to become the Ministery of Culture and Heritage. When this kind of building suffers total damage which cannot be repaired, we would have symbolic rubble from official heritage. It is also necessary to consider that there is non-official heritage, which is not affected by any law that officially makes it national monument, but which has an intangible value earned through history. It is a

building that is highly recognized by the community and in this case the rubble that is generated by the destruction of this kind of building would be classified as symbolic rubble with popular value. Therefore, symbolic rubble may be divided into two sub-categories: official heritage and that with popular value. Sadly, these two categories of symbolic rubble receive no protection at present because of this concept of “waste� we have of these elements and which prevents us from seeing the beauty in them and the memory they generate. This is why there is no law protecting these pieces and recognizing their value. We need to understand that this rubble has a memory and an identity, and that they should be protected because its conservation will allow us to treasure our collective memory. CLASSIFICATION OF RUBBLE DEPENDING ON THE CATASTROPHE The level of deterioration experienced by buildings after a sudden event varies depending on the nature of the disaster. It is necessary to state that there are two big types of catastrophe: natural and technological catastrophes (UN, 2008). Among the natural catastrophes we find: a. disasters produced by dynamic processes inside our planet such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions; b.disasters generated by dynamic processes on the surface of the Earth such as slides, collapses, avalanche, flash floods, huaycos; c.disasters resulting from meteorological or hydrologic

disasters such as floods, droughts, frost and hail storms, tornados, hurricanes; and d. disasters of a biological origin such as plagues and epidemics. Among technological disasters we can find fires, explotions, chemical spills, environmental pollution, wars, subversion episodes and terrorism. Among these typologies, it is worth noting that they do not all have the same destructive effects on architectural heritage nor they generate the same types of rubble. There are even some that are harmless for buildings but not for human beings. Within these categories, there are some that bring about massive and chaotic destruction, while after others there is a higher level of identification of buildings after the destruction. RUBBLE BASED ON MATERIALS AND VOLUMES Symbolic rubble can have different sizes, shapes and materials which make the fragments varied, heterogeneous and unique. If we take into account size and shape, we may refer first to the dimensions of these objects: height, width and length. In terms of physical contrasts, there are three types of symbolic rubble: piece, fragment and dust rubble. As to materials, five types of rubble may be distinguished considering texture and colour: clay , sand, metals, wood, stone and concrete . They have different properties with respect to hardness, mechanical or fire resistance, or ease of cleaning.


What should be done to make us understand that we have a heritage which has been turned into rubble, which is still ours and we should be taking care of it?


The responsibility of public space

Why should something be remembered in one particular place? Why does memory need a place? Public spaces are those public elements where the public and prívate interests, the collective and the individual co-exist. They are tangible elements and that is a crucial feature to actívate effective memorizing processes, because the culture of oral memory is very fragile and vulnerable. A society interacts everyday in these places, generating an urban life, with physical, social and cultural functions intended to satisfy urban needs that go beyond individual interests. These are places where practices that strengthen solidarity, fraternity, freedom and equality among people are generated, where imagination, symbols and creativity are developed. They are all elements that promote the creation of an identity as a community who mostly feels that it owns this place, generating a culture as society. Thus, the main feelings that remain after the destruction of heritage when you visit the public spaces of a destroyed city are disorientation, the feeling of walking through an imposed emptiness and the loss of architectural references that orientate urban life which unfortunately has turned into rubble. Therefore, one of the expressions of need experienced by people after an architectural loss or the loss of a “loved one” is the need to preserve their memory and all the experiences developed with a particular identity. Post-catastrophe symbolic rubble appears as a material which is appropriate to be used in projects and which has a memory to recall the destroyed architectural object but tansformed into something completely different from what it used to be, as it is described in the criteria in this proposal


Scheme of generation of space without transfer of original site.

The idea is that public spaces in cities that suffer from catastrophes keep traces from the past, such as a street along which you may walk and remember, and keep traces of the catastrophe, not in an invasive way but pervading the collective culture and heritage, with a wide variety of spaces incorporating symbolic rubble. Why should symbolic rubble be reused in public space? Firstly, because pubic space must meet all the needs of a community, one of them being the transmisión of memory. In this role of transmitting memory, public space becomes the best testimony of the cultural state achieved by a community in its process of evolution. Therefore, the reuse of symbolic rubble is meant to become a reference point in the territory, giving the city a character, an identity and a memory that is understandable to the resident. Certainly the possibility of evoking memories in the residents becomes one of the biggest responsibilities of public space, like a supervisor of constant positive memories. The second reason has to do with a true sense of belonging because, as it is represented in an architectural element that is “private” and whose access is restricted, heritage often alienates people and users, generating an overprotective conservation which leads to the death of these elements. Therefore, the idea is to understand that legally architectural heritage, in spite of being privately-owned, has always been considered a property of all and for all, that is, a public element. In other words, when these elements are transformed into urban elements in public space, the concept of property becomes real and coherent, as you can interact with it at any moment, even if it has been transformed into a

Scheme of generation of space with single transfer of original site.

seat or a fountain. It is important to conceive this element as a a gift to the community after a catastrophe, which is also a sign and symbol of beauty. Public space consists of areas for staying, such as squares and/or parks, and areas for circulating, such as pedestrian precincts, boulevards, bike paths and streets for vehicle use which can be located inside or outside cities. Historically, the most popular commemoration places have been squares and parks, but also pedestrian areas and streets, which can be given an innovative new use. When an architectural object suffers damage and becomes symbolic rubble, there are two alternative places for future location forthe conservation of heritage and which depend on the area of influence, the needs of the context and the fact that a private space may become public, if the element had been housed in a private property. The second alternative is to move the symbolic rubble to a nearby public space which precincts, squares or parks, may be streets, pedestrian This alternative depends on the area of influence of the former building. The transfer of the rubble may be total, that is, all the rubble from the former architectural object is taken and reused on the same place, or the transfer is completed in a scattered way, generating different proposals on different spaces.

Scheme of generation of space with dispersed transfer of original site.


The transformation

The chemist Lavoisier in 1785 proved that matter is neither created nor destroyed, only transformed. However, is it possible in an architectural environment to replicate this conception for architectural heritage? If you analyze this law from a spiritual point of view, you may perceive a connotation of hope and expectation after the total destruction of an object because, according to this Frenchman, matter will always remain and will never be lost. This is more so much so when patrimonial matter, in this case, is transformed into symbolic rubble, experiencing an evolution and change in its fusion with memory. The concept of “conservation” is the key. Thus, architectural heritage and its memory will never be lost, but its conservation will depend on the way it is transformed. Up to now, transformation of symbolic rubble into materials to be used in projects has been approached in a negative way. Rubble has been considered as waste and there has been no positive reflection following a basic principle of strengthening and embellishment, in order to develop new signs and symbols, conceived and placed in strategic places as public space. Transformation of patrimonial matter or “symbolic rubble” may be a tool that stimulates changes in life or in perception, because when you generate public space with those destroyed architectural elements you establish a precedent in history, with rubble as the link between two areas – architecture and city planning- standing on an edge which may become interesting and unique after a loss. Transformation of walls, flagstones or pillars of an architectural object into urban elements generates an unexplored principle of symbiosis of beauty

because both symbolic rubble and public space depend on one another and do not work independently. This new kind of transformation is a revelation as to a potential branch of heritage conservation which could develop a new philosophy of renovation. This could contribute with a new meaning to the present heritage charters Venice, Athens, Amsterdam or Rome- since they are based exclusively on the rebuilding of architectural objects. That is, they keep the same architectural element. It is important to bear in mind that many of these positions do not recognize the object as a “living being”, that dies and is then transformed because today death is not accepted and even scars are hidden behind faked stories which make no reference to the negative event –an earthquake or a war which affected the building. A new kind of damage is silently spreading and affecting both the architectural object and the society because they will never remember nor will be aware of change or vulnerability of architecture, restricting the reusing and recycling of symbolic rubble in public space. But do these urban elements created from symbolic rubble represent beauty? When a building is completely destroyed by a catastrophe, the shape of the object –its width, length and height- is lost but not its content, which are the memories and identities of the affected community. This is the element that provides symbolic rubble with beauty, because the concept of beauty does not make reference to aesthetic values but to the pleasant emotions that are generated and which perpetuate a positive reflection about the meaning of our own existence and how we reinvent ourselves.

could be identified as its biggest beauty and its true soul. Plato taught us that the world may be seen by everyone, but that beauty is only a manifestation of true beauty that lives in the soul and which we can only discover if we immerse in its knowledge. If a city resident or a tourist learn about the past background of a piece of rubble, they will discover its true beauty. Therefore, the external beauty of rubble will depend on the treatment it receives and the way it is organized. A new social consensus and perception would arise, since at first sight rubble may be perceived as something unaesthetic due to its asymmetrical and unexpected proportions. It is not very common either to use rubble in the design of public space because what is unusual is often evaluated as alien and ugly. However, perhaps with an appropriate process of adaptability and a deep understanding of why it should be used, people may change their conception of rubble. Human beings resist change. In order to be able to accept change, we need to go through a process of adaptability towards this new philosophy. The process must consider a period of time that allows the understanding of its postulates and a new way of conceiving life, because adaptability is a mental process which implies a willingness to accept change based on being confident of what we can do and choose in the future. In other words, in order to reuse symbolic rubble in public space and recognize it as a day-to-day element, a new perception of decay and rubble must be accepted and assimilated so as to allow us to see these elements as resources of conservation and sustainable development.

The activation of imagination produced by rubble


After a disaster



Urban elements

Based on recycling and reuse of symbolic rubble, several criteria for design are considered. They include regulations in order to develop a universality of rubble considering two variables: dimension, which includes piece, fragment and dust rubble, and the different materials. The aim of these proposals is to stimulate the reader’s imagination and to be able to create new possibilities. In other words, no absolute laws are given but rather guidelines are presented, where the economic element is decisive in order to generate a proposal that is as sustainable as possible. It is important to point out that the generation of elements to be used for urban furniture built with pieces of symbolic rubble is more economical than those built with fragments. Dust rubble obviously requires a much more elaborated process to be used in public space, though it is still economical. In this collection, the proposals consider basically piece and fragment rubble, while dust rubble could be included in a future roject. These proposals have been divided into three categories of urban elements: urban furniture, pavings and topography elements, including an overall of 21

possibilities. From the different combinations of volumes of rubble and material, a huge number of different possibilities arise. This collection does not include elements which are movable –elements that are carried from one place to another do not generate identity in a space- or that require highly technical elements such as signs, fences, traffic lights or rubbish bins. It is also important to consider that urban elements are introduced in isolation in this part, but their arrangement in space is vital to be able to capture the damaged identity and urban memory in these places. This organization of space will be determined by two conditions: urban memory and the continuity of the architectural act onto an urban act. This will be dealt with more exhaustively in another chapter. Now these options for recycling and reuse of symbolic rubble are introduced. As to the materials and volumes of symbolic rubble, sixteen urban elements are described: urban seats, hand rails, rubbish bins, drinking fountains, bollards, advertisement boards, sculptures, decorative fountains, lamp posts, masts, flowerbeds, elements in playgrounds, tables, bus stops, protections for trees and roofs, pavings and topography elements


The sequencing of urban elemens according to memory WAYS TO APPROACH MEMORY One of the purposes of this exploration is to find guidelines and criteria for the organization of urban elements with a sense of memory, based on the greater characterization of destroyed architectural objects in order to achieve a functionality of the symbolic needs of the community. An isolated bench or a sculpture, with no clear sense, on a square or a park, would fail to convey enough information of the former architectural object. However, by taking memory factors, as suggested by Kevin Lynch and Christian Norberg-Schulz, in terms of the shape of the architectural object as a milestone or the act that was performed inside, we may use these parametres to achieve a continuity of transformed memory while maintaining its essence. This relationship between destroyed architecture converted into squares, pedestrian areas or streets opens a new line of research in art projects which may be universal but they respect the context needs, not to be imponed as absolute laws, where the affected community has the last word.

Religious Architecture

Open chapels Continuity of the act/ Transformation

Cultural architecture

CONTINUITY OF THE ACT To live, to work, to study, to play, to buy, to travel, and to marry are among the acts that are lost after the destruction of important architectural objects in vulnerable areas. But what is the relationship between the architectural act and memory? According to Christian Norberg-Schulz (1975), “places are centres where we experience the most significant events in our lives. But they are also the starting points from which we orientate ourselves and we take posession of the surrounding environment�. This definition shows that the objects themselves are not important in a memory where man positions himself, but when and how it is given by intentional acts, where the events inside are the ones that generate the image to belong to a social and cultural whole. Thus, architectural heritage is recognized because it originates full acts for a community where memory is the key. Here we can see the parallel between memory and the way we place it depending on the act. The architectural act is the key to open the door to the knowledge of memory, which is destined to contain man and his whole life. Can the act and its fusion with this object be transmitted to rubble? What happens to this loss of memory? Can there be continuity of the developed act in the architectural object through rubble as material for projects in public spaces? This is a condition that may be explored through design criteria and the way elements are organizad in order to create and move from an architectural act to an urban act. However, this depends on the architecture, since rubble has the tangible memory of the old object and, thus, it brings the memory of the architectural act.

Open amphitheatres to perform plays Continuity of the act/ Transformation

Sports Architecture

Children’s play areas, sports fields

Continuity of the act/ Transformation

Transport architecture

So what is the diversity of architectural heritage acts? Architectural objects have the following functions that are compatible with urban acts: Based on this classification we will explore the possibilities of continuing the act of these architectural objects in public spaces, transforming them into urban acts, maintaining the consistency of the essence of experimentation between them. In order to do this, the two previous criteria will be used as the basis -where and what- in order to determine the organization of urban elements, pavings and topography, elements based on the diversity of public spaces -squares, parks, pedestrian areas and streets, and to preserve the urban memory, based on a formal, spatial and structural but consistent transformation.

This raises a transformation of the architectural act into a new urban act with a continuity to preserve the memory and replace the loss of that act in that context. The most important is find compatible context needs with the intervention of the new act urban public space.

Pedestrian areas Continuity of the act/ Transformation

Commercial architecture

Areas for relaxation after shopping Continuity of the act/ Transformation


ABATEMENT OF FACADE This intervention is not based on the continuity of the act as an element of memory, but it highlights the shape of the former architectutal object within the urban fabric. Urban memory is commonly associated with the shape of the architectural object, that is, it is based on the diversity or contrasts among them, which become landmarks or references in cities. This the case of Brunelleschi’s Dome, which is located in an urban context that is uniform in height and provides hierarchy and image. According to Lynch, this position of urban memory is based on landmarks because of its shape in the image of the city. Taking advantege of this quality, a transformation of its shape is generated into an abatement of facade of the disappeared architectural object.

These characteristics condition this position, since the intention is to replicate the old destroyed facade on a large space such as a square, where the designed base may be lifted on the basis of its main lines, as a form of commemoration or memory. There are two experiences which have tried to implement the abatement of facade of a building: Filippo Brunelleschi in Italy during the Renaissance, and Miguel Ángel Roca in the Church and City Hall of Córdoba, Argentina. The idea is to develop an evolution of these positions: what used to be done in two dimensions is now done in three, where the door or the window is now transformed into urban furniture, seats or exhibition areas. This leaves a tangible record of their proportions to acieve the link between the two areas and eras of the city: the historic and the modern.

In order to undestand this view of conservation, the destroyed architectural object needs to be located at the front of a vast open space, which allows contemplation of all its edges.

An example of this is found in the hypothetical design of the Spain Square in Concepción, with the abatement of facade of the old building of the Regional Council, where the shape of the former building forms the new square, recalling its old shape and thus its memory.

Among the main characteristics of this philosophy we find the concept of rubble as a sustainable development resource, as it responds to social, environmental and economic aspects: -Architectural heritage is a dynamic resource because when it is transformed into a component of public space, it may be touched, used, you can play with it, pray on it, sit on it, study feeling the object, that is, you can come close to it. This was not possible when it was an element of architecture. This is a polifunctional position, since every project has as a main objective which is that of satisfying the needs of an urban act like playing, educating, meeting, observing, etc. Additionally it also includes the inherent act of remembering as it is a place whith a double emotional load and a memory, thanks to the symbolic rubble. These conservation projects will always be unique and exclusive because they use rubble from a unique and unrepeatable architectural object as they are heritage elements. Destruction generates unique pieces of rubble with different sizes and volumes so serial building of elements or furniture would not be possible. The aim is to give them a true identity and to make space attractive so as to generate cultural tourism as well. Considering their condition of being unique and unrepeatable, projects will vary depending on the kind of rubble that they work with. In other words, the rubble will determine the possibilities of intervention, allowing for a development of identity and appreciation of projects. This is completely different from the way the creation of public space is managed today, which works with standardized furniture.

-Another characteristic is its potential as a phylosophy of universality, where the processes of reusing and recycling symbolic rubble in public space may be replicated anywhere in the world affected by a catastrophe, either natural or man-made, generating the destruction of their heritage. At this point it is important to mention that this idea should be analyzed in each particular case, because its integration is associated to each culture and rituals must be respected. -Architectural heritage, when reused and recycled in public space, will become an element that generates awareness towards conservation and memory. It is clear that it is necessary to value architectural heritage objects that are still standing as well as those that have been affected by decay. We need to remember that catastrophes are part of our history and we cannot be consumed in social amnesia with respect to these events because that would leave us helpless. -In environmental terms, when we reuse this nontraditional material, we are contributing to a reduction in the explotation of natural resources, because when a catastrophe hits a city it is necessary to rebuild the public spaces that have been damaged and rubble is an efficient material. At present there is not a good management of rubble regarding its elimination: it is accumulated on fertile land and coastal borders, it generates environmental and visual deterioration and a negative impact as it does not decompose easily or mingle with other organic elements such as wood, steel or others. Therefore, its correct handling could reduce environmental pollution and the amount of wastes that could have a negative environmental impact. This would also reduce the need for landfills and incineration, and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

As to economic benefits, rubble and the processes associated to it would create new jobs. Besides, it is an economical raw material that can be used in the construction of public spaces as there would be no need to buy stones or bricks. Another positive aspect is that it may activate environmental awareness and various new reuse and recycling processes, because residents as well as tourists would see areas that have been created by those same processes. The cultural component of rubble is very important since it gives the community a full and lasting representation of these spaces and environmental issues. -Awareness of vulnerability to catastrophe is the second important effect of the creation of this new memory process because rubble represents catastrophe and becomes a stimulus for prevention, a controller, an incentive to the development of intellectual capital to face catastrophes, and a contribution to the solution of amnesia with respect to catastrophe. Lastly, these projects are a sample of a city’s urban resilience because they help us assimilate the processes of change after a disaster. They also generate public spaces which complement the lost act of an architectural object. For example, the act of worship which used to be performed in a church, after its destruction could be replicated in the creation of additional spaces with rubble. In other words, what used to be an architectural act becomes an urban act, like an oratory in the open, in the case of a church. After a catastrophe, it is possible to have resilient spaces which are better assimilated by a community, as the cultural aspect endows them with a greater hierarchy and representation.


Citizen participation and management

Responding to real social needs and demands is the objective of a more sustainable and humane city planning. The relationship between urban memory and residents has a close correspondence with producing attractive public spaces that people use and become part of their collective unconscious. The inclusion of a real and effective citizen participation in project management must be seen as an instrument to successfully achieve sustainability within time the proposals that are undertaken. The imposition of models must be avoided and socialization, use and consolidation of a pre- and post-catastrophe memory in the place of commemoration must be encouraged. As we integrate citizens in the development of projects we strengthen the users’ identification with the generated results. With respect to our particular area, citizen participation contributes to solving a particular problem that affects this kind of problems: what is accessibility to memory? How can public space be used as a place of memory if future generations did not experience the events that are remembered there? How does it become part of a collective memory? If one generation was involved in the process of creation of a project and felt it truly their own, their children and grandchildren will most certainly know the importance of that place. It is interesting to refer to one advantage of this type of projects working with symbolic rubble in public spaces. Unlike other creations in these places, it is feasible and easy to attract people to take part in the process because you do not start working with new materials but with heritage elements that have been part of their life history. It has been proved that during the first weeks after a disaster, there is a greater need and disposition from communities to help and to do volunteer work in the recovery of their cities. It is clearly necessary to take care of this help civilians feel like offering during the emergency stage. This can be done providing ways to channel all the possible help and it is essential to be able to organize and channel human resources which will start to diminish as the country begins to stabilize.


Hospitals for symbolic rubble Hospitals for symbolic rubble are places for storing rubble inside or outside a city. They can be located on state or privately-owned land and they play a protective role this inert rubble for its future recycling or reuse in public space. Symbolic rubble is to be kept there until the crisis after the disaster is stabilized and the most urgent problems are solved. It is important to wait until the critical issues are dealt with when a community experiences a mega-disaster and there are no resources to globally meet all the needs. This is why the first steps are to solve problems in housing, food, health and psychological assistance and only then go on to develop cultural projects that enable the restoration and improvement of cities and the society. We need to bear in mind that we must always do the very best to rescue the most of symbolic pieces because, as it was already explained, they are the ones that keep the characteristics of the buildings (remains from facades, doors, pillars, tiles, etc.) so they become tangible and representative testimony of memory. It is necessary to remember that these “symbolic collections of rubble”, besides protecting symbolic rubble for their reuse in public spaces, they may also contribute to the protection of that rubble which will be used to restore a patrimonial building. This very important because, alter a crisis, rubble becomes a problem and nobody even effectively considers its use in architecture. Organs like the Council of National Monuments and the Ministry of the Environment are key for the planning of these Hospitals for Rubble.

They may become prevention mechanisms and in anticipation to a future catastrophe may write a list with possible sites where symbolic rubble may be gathered with the endorsement from Health Authorities. Hospitals will need to have different sites for the organized storage of pieces, fragments and dust rubble, considering the various degrees of fragility of inert residues such as adobe rubble which is highly vulnerable in outdoor conditions. City halls and authorities will also need to be informed about the localization of these sites for the exclusive storing of this kind of rubble. They will also need to keep a data base with all the information which will be available so that new projects may easily be generated with citizen participation.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SITE: WHERE AND WHICH ONES? Storing in the same site: The rubble is left in its place of origin. Temporary protection is needed to avoid their alteration or that they may be moved away or eliminated. A perimeter fence may be used to avoid visual or environmental pollution.

Storing in another site: The rubble is removed from the original site. A supervisor must be present during this operation to guarantee the future Project. It is necessary to manage the feasibility of storing the elements separately to avoid mixing them with other materials. Ideally this new site should also give the possibility of carrying out necessary maintenance to the most fragile rubble. A city may organize more than one hospital to receive the different “patients” but it is important that they do not get mixed as they could generate a so called “false historical.”

CRITERIA FOR THE LOCATION OF HOSPITALS With respect to sites for the location, the Ministers of the Environment and of Health, through their office in the Biobío Region developed a study in 2010 including different criteria that you need to consider when installing a site for the storage of rubble which may also be used for the creation of hospitals for symbolic rubble. 1, ENVIRONMENTAL CRITERION: The site must not affect any surface or underground watercourses. It must also avoid lands that are flooded in certain periods during the year (you need to ask the local inhabitants), those which have a special landscape value or biodiversity (areas under protection, wetlands, etc.) and those which have the necessary characteristics for camps and/or provisional houses. 2. LOGISTIC CRITERION: The condition of provisional collection centre implies the need for the classification of residues. Therefore, the site must allow expeditious access to heavy machinery and should also be close to plants for reuse, recycling and final elimination in order to reduce the costs of the process of recovery of materials. 3. TOPOGRAPHIC CRITERION: The site should have a slope of 5% or less to guarantee the stability conditions of the rubble. 4. ECONOMIC CRITERION: Agricultural land, which has value for tourism or another activity developed in the area should not be used. With respect to transportation of symbolic rubble, it is a good idea to find a site as close as possible so as to reduce the costs of transport.


Profile for Fundacion Proyecta Memoria


The Foundation aims to preserve and protect the architectural heritage destroyed by natural disasters and man-through techniques, principles...


The Foundation aims to preserve and protect the architectural heritage destroyed by natural disasters and man-through techniques, principles...


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