March 26, 2015

Stronger Than The Storm: Colegio Santa Rosa de Constitución

A tsunami that slammed into Constitución, Chile, in 2010 took more than 500 lives and devastated much of the region. So Land Arquitectos founding partners Angela Delorenzo Arancibia and Cristobal Valenzuela Haeussler, intent on helping, headed right into the center of what they describe as a battlefield. As part of an effort organized with an NGO, the Fundación Rodelillo, Delorenzo and Valenzuela agreed to take on a project for a reduced fee.

The project, now completed, is a girls’ kindergarten and elementary school, the Colegio Santa Rosa de Constitución. Half the facility had been destroyed, leaving 800 students displaced. Instead of rebuilding an exact replica, Land Arquitectos constructed a 22,000-square-foot schoolhouse and an 800-square-foot chapel flanking a plaza that serves as a community gathering place. The chapel, a white-painted beacon, is a memorial to the victims and a spiritual support to the survivors.

“Instead of focusing on the negative, we believed that this disaster could create opportunities for improving our city’s quality of life”

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