To commemorate the Bicentennial of the Republic of Chile, President Sebastián Piñera has developed the "Legado Bicentenario" (Bicentennial Legacy) program, which includes the creation, revitalization and consolidation of public spaces and buildings of great urban and heritage importance to Chile.
As part of this program, Santiago's Civic Quarter is to be revitalized, particularly Paseo Bulnes (Bulnes Avenue) and the area around it. The Housing and Urban Development Ministry subsequently launched the "International Public Competition: Master Plan for the Bulnes Urban Axis" and has called for urban design / architectural proposals for the completion, updating and revitalizing Bulnes Avenue and the area around it, through a Master Plan that addresses these tasks together. The aim of the Master Plan is to revitalize these public spaces and create a suitable abutment at the southern end of Bulnes Avenue. The registration deadline for the competition was on October 16th, and the results have been announced on December 4th.
Santiago's Barrio Cívico (Civic Quarter) is the most significant urban development undertaken in Santiago in the 1930s. The design of the Civic Quarter was conceived in 1929 by Karl Brunner, an Austrian urban designer retained by the Chilean Government of the time. In its present form, Santiago's Civic Quarter is the result of a project headed by Carlos Vera Mandujano in 1937. Although the design of the urban sector was undoubtedly classical in style, it was considerably simplified: the decorative elements were reduced to a minimum, and the basic design relied heavily on the capacity of large architectonic volumes to create public spaces.
The Civic Quarter has two key components: to the North, the "Caja Cívica" (the "Civic Square"), with La Moneda Presidential Palace at its center + to the South, Paseo Bulnes (Bulnes Avenue), an urban axis whose design is still unfinished at the southern end. For various reasons, the Civic Quarter has remained unfinished, and there are currently signs of deterioration in certain areas. Various proposals for completing the southern end of the Bulnes Urban Axis were never implemented. Moreover, there are several empty lots that break the continuity of the façades along the avenue, this being an essential element of the original design. Thus, the Bulnes Urban Axis simply disappears at its southern end, where it meets Parque Almagro (Almagro Park), a green area created after the Civic Quarter without any specific urban or architectural planning of the area where the two meet.
This call for proposals is a unique opportunity to propose a coherent vision for the future development of a key urban area within the historic center of Santiago, thus benefiting the city as a whole.
The competition awards three prizes and three Honorable Mentions, and it will constitute the first stage of a strategy aimed at promoting greater use of these public areas and implementing certain components of the original plan that still remain incomplete.