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An experiment with population density management in Santiago

Studio CL designs DSP, a residential building with three units

Studio CL

An experiment with population density management in Santiago
By Redazione The Plan -

Simple on the outside, but complex in its conception and organization on the inside, this project by Studio CL in Santiago de Chile can be seen as an experiment – an attempt to create a sustainable housing model for a capital city undergoing rapid urban change and a construction surge. This is therefore an experiment in population density management on the micro scale of a single residential building, dubbed DSP.

The lot in question was originally occupied by a single home. It now has three different units: a street-level duplex with a large garden, a studio apartment, and an apartment with an attic and rooftop terrace. Access to each is off a curving staircase in the center of the building, which leads all the way up to the terrace. The shape and materials – steel sheeting painted a chalky white – of the staircase adds a lightness and dynamism to the building.

These same characteristics, also created by alternating solids and voids and the appearance of the railings, define more or less the whole building, with one side of its pre-cast concrete envelope appearing to float above the ground. This envelope is covered, although not on all sides, by a veil of aluminum, which contributes to shading and the privacy of the dwellings. The veil opens in front of the windows, this underscoring the rhythm and dynamism of the design, as well as enhancing the connection to outdoors through the contribution of natural light.

Because the envelope is a prefabricated system, it was possible to complete the project quickly, while the double-tee floor system was borrowed from technology developed for spanning large distances in multi-story car parks.


A new outlook for Santiago

DSP, Studio CL ©Bruno Giliberto, courtesy of Studio CL

Studio CL’s experiment is better understood by taking into account the nature of Santiago, a city that has continued to grow outwards from its original center, which is infinitely smaller than the city today. An exponential increase in population since the first half of the twentieth century has led to ramshackle development at wildfire speeds, resulting in urban fragmentations occupied by millions of people.

For this reason, Daniel Lazo and Gabriel Caceres, who set up Studio CL in 2012, have used the project to give shape to their desire to use this density to give a new shape to the city and its architecture. According to their outlook, public spaces become places for social engagement, and interaction between public and private life.

>>> Read an excerpt from an article about Casa Patio in Lo Curro, Santiago, published in THE PLAN 142.


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Location: Providencia, Santiago - Chile
Architects: Studio CL
Completion: 2019
Built up Area: 385 m2

Structures: Pedro Bartolomé 
Lighting: Paula Martínez

Suppliers: Porcelanosa

Photography by Bruno Giliberto, courtesy of Studio CL

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