PARQUE CULTURAL DE VALPARAISO
by HLPS Arquitectos
The Valparaiso Cultural park is located on a hill called Cerro Carcel, Valparaiso's most touristic hills. The challenge of this project was to convert a former prison, an hermetic and reclusive sancutaruy, into a successful public space open tot the city and its people.
The response was the creation of a 2.5ha park by demolishing the majority of the light-weight constructions and keeping only the most exceptional buildings: the former Galeria de Reos (the former prison building), the entrance building, and the historical Spaniard's powder keg store. The old perimeter wall was also maintained but cut horizontally in order to provide for views and access from the site's eastern and western parts. The projects is composed of three main elements:
1. The reuse of the former Galeria de Reos as the transmission building.
2. The planted landscape as a new urban space for the city
3. The new building as a diffusion building giving a contemporary image.
The former prison hosts a variety of artistic programmes: music rooms, theatre space, dance faculties, painting and sculpture studios, conference rooms, and residences. Internally the rooms were cleared; only the external walls were preserved, and a composition of concrete and timber boxes fills the space, antrually lit from above by a timber trellis roof. Whilst the façade on the park's side was left untouched, on the rear, the lower part of the wall was demolished to give permeability between the inside and outside. Located behind a long concrete wall standing on five angular conrete supports, the new contemporary building accommodates a larger theatre, performing arts spaces, and multidisciplinary laboratories. Positioned on top of the hill and facing the park, the building's large terraces are accessed y concrete steps and ramps. With its large concrete geometrical voids painted in primary colours and its omnipresent permeability between public spaces and interior spaces, one is prompted to infer Brazilian modern architectural refererences. The park defines a new public space, independent from the arts programmes, creationg links to the existing city network. A wide range of plants defines some prminent areas, offering contrasting atmospheres. The large green esplanade provides the external space to host activities and the surrounding landcape is laid out in a raided grid of Jacarande trees.