Footnote: Amereida at the Radisson

Tonight the contestants on Top Chef Chile travel to Concón, specifically the Radisson Acqua Hotel & Spa. For the novice School of Valparaíso scholar this is an inconsequential event. However, there are two important undercurrents of note. The first is pretty minor, though not for the School faculty themselves. They love food. In another life they would’ve been chefs, no joke. One look at their Instagram feeds or design projects on Flickr illustrates their preoccupation with gastronomy and how it relates to celebrations. I’m sure many of them will be watching. And if they are I hope that catch the pretty big connection between the Radisson and their School. According to Valentina Pérez’s excellent thesis, this is where the founders planned the first travesía in 1965. Back then, of course, this legendary group did not meet at the Radisson but at the Bucanero Restaurant, which is where the current hotel sits. According to Pérez, “A stone inscribed in homage to the site where the ideas of Amereida were gestated is there, recognizing the first travesía” (70n48). Unfortunately, I have never been to this hotel so I cannot confirm this memorial. However, since an alumnus of the School of Valparaíso—Harken Jensen—was the lead architect I’m confident this School of Valparaíso legend is more on the side of true things. If the cameramen of Top Chef Chile manage to include this stone in one of their shots, tomorrow’s review of this show will certainly be less salty.

To end on a high note, Cecilia Vicuña’s 2010 film Kon Kon presents another view of this resort town.

Advertisements

Footnote: The Travesía Workout Plan

1991, Amereida, Travesías 1984 a 1988, 165

Travesía Exercise Series. Escuela de Arquitectura Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Amereida Travesías 1984 a 1988. Viña del Mar: Taller de Investigaciones Gráficas, Escuela de Arquitectura UCV, 1991.

Faculty and students at the School of Valparaíso really think of everything when it comes to the travesías. Considering that for trip each dozens of participants travel for at least two weeks and, until recently, by bus into the wilds of South America they had to plan the journey with considerable attention to detail. One of the most amusing anecdotes I’ve heard is of a professor requesting models from his Object Design students: they created a model of the bus they’d be traveling on as well as models of their backpacks to make sure everything could fit. It did. Among all the calculations, I really appreciate this series of exercises. The visuals are so clear and effective, preparing these young students for the toils of construction. Continue reading

Footnote: America and the Spanish-English Divide

When all is said and done I’m going to have around 800 footnotes in my dissertation. I love footnotes. It appeases the loyal, “leave-no-man-behind” streak in my personality. Since I’m dealing with Chilean subject matter my bibliography is nearly exclusively in Spanish. I’ve already spent half of my research/writing time translating so I made an executive decision to leave a few words in their natural state—travesía, obra—because the English translations just aren’t up to snuff. All of which I explain in my ~800 footnotes. Continue reading

Footnote: Bauhaus Smoking Gun

I’ve arrived to the point in my dissertation where I address a frequent question: “so, these architects are like a Chilean Bauhaus?” It’s an indirect way of saying, “relate your group to something established, something from Europe, something I know!” I get it, the unknown is terrifying. But I couldn’t live with myself as a Latin Americanist art historian if I didn’t try to pry you away from that life preserver. There are few life preservers in my dissertation and most of them have been relegated to footnotes. Like this one about the Bauhaus.

Continue reading