Before the Mall

 

Claudio Girola, "Monumento Athenea" (1987), reinforced concrete and steel. Santiago, Chile.

Claudio Girola, “Monumento Athenea” (1987), reinforced concrete and steel. Santiago, Chile.

Claudio Girola, "Monumento Athenea" (1987), reinforced concrete and steel. Santiago, Chile.

Claudio Girola, “Monumento Athenea” (1987), reinforced concrete and steel. Santiago, Chile.

In December 1987 the School of Valparaíso completed Monumento Atheneaan urban travesía in Santiago, by installing several sculptures by Claudio Girola. The ensemble consisted of delicate arcs of steel surrounding a lone sculpture made of reinforced concrete and inscribed with a poem by Godofredo Iommi. The works sat on the banks of the Mapocho River. As in the case of most travesía works, this group had a short life. Which is a shame considering how they may have fared better just across the river in the dedicated sculpture park. I visited the site a few years ago, hoping to see at least some evidence of this project but instead I dodged construction vehicles building the Costenera Center complex, which includes the mall du jour and the tallest building in South America. Little did I know the works endured much damage before meeting a watery end. Though it’s little consolation, the travesía was documented extensively as Flickr photos and these snapshots from the catalog demonstrate.

Sketches of Monumento Athenea. Escuela de Arquitectura Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Amereida Travesías 1984 a 1988. Viña del Mar: Taller de Investigaciones Gráficas, Escuela de Arquitectura UCV, 1991.

Sketches of Monumento Athenea. Escuela de Arquitectura Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Amereida Travesías 1984 a 1988. Viña del Mar: Taller de Investigaciones Gráficas, Escuela de Arquitectura UCV, 1991.

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