Matta Sur Community and Health Center


Santiago, Chile


Submitted By: luis vidal + architects

Owner: Ilustre Municipalidad de Santiago

Lead Design Firm: luis vidal + architects

General Contractor and Civil Engineer: BOETCHS S.A.

Structural Engineer: Schaad Ingenieros

MEP Engineer: COBE Ingenieros

Historic Building Consultant: José María Jiménez

Landscape Architect: Estudio de Paisaje Arbolaria

When the Matta Sur Community and Health Center project in Santiago, Chile, began in June 2018, the city’s former Metropolitan Lyceum building—constructed in 1891—had been sitting vacant for more than a decade. The renovation design by luis vidal + architects centered on reviving the historic structure and integrating it with a new building so that “past, present and future merge in a building that combines modernity with tradition and innovation,” says the firm. 

Contractor BOETCHS’ contribution to the project was “key,” says Luis Vidal, the design firm’s president, noting its repair of the existing structure, which uncovered project diaries dating to the original construction. The diaries, says Vidal, “allowed us to reveal the construction systems of that time, exhibiting the original stone and masonry base.”

The overall vision for integrating old and new in a single project, says Vidal, was “to recover the most unique elements of the existing building by using an austere and contemporary language that does not compete with the heritage building but enhances it.” The historic building now accommodates a nursery school, gym and auditorium, while the new addition serves as a public primary health care center. Situated between the two structures is a public plaza “that provides the community with an open space to promote social encounters—the heart of the project,” says the team.

In October 2019, protests across the city unrelated to the project began delaying it, with work finished in January 2021, says the team.

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