CEPAL, United Nations Building

CEPAL United Nation’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean

​by Emilio Duhart, 1960-1966

Santiago de Chile


In 1960 an architectural competition was held to build a new United Nations headquarters in Chile. This project completed a trilogoy of buildings installed on three continents, following on from the United Nations headquarters in New York City in 1947 (Oscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, Harrison & Abramovitz), and the Unesco headquarters in Paris in 1952 (Marcel Breuer, Pier Luigi Nervi, and Bernard Zehrfuss. Emilio Duhart was the architect selected to build the project. At that time, Duhart had demonstrated great professional maturity after a long partnership with Sergio Larrain and a period working at Le Corbusier's office in Paris. This project represents an exceptional contribution to Chilean modernism as it reflects an open dialogue between local cultures and the global ambition of the United Nations.


The design was based on a strong relation with the landscape but also,on a larger scale, with the local geography and history which became symbolic elements of the project. The project was built in Vitacura, locate at that time in the metropolitan outskirts near the Andes Cordillera. Duhart has described it as both house and monument, an allusion to Le Corbusier's concept of une maision un palais. In fact, it is a house where work is equated with pleasure and efficiency, a house of the United Nathions coming together as a community. It also shows a functional and plastic unity - a monument to the Nations, yet a monument reflecting the country where it is constructued: its capital, its valley, its cordillera, its climate, its flora, its residential character, etc.




Source: extract from Architectural Guide Chile by Véronique Hours/Fabien Mauduit - Dom Publishers 2016 ISBN 978-3-86922-394-0