The San Francisco Javier School is an institution related to the Compañía de Jesus, which founded this school around 1850, in the center of the emerging city of Puerto Montt. It was in fact the first church and parish, and part of its facilities are now a National Monument. The development and densification of the center, and the transfer of its inhabitants to residential areas in new neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city, forced the relocation of the school. This new building is located in the heart of high Pelluhue, a new residential district located east of the city.
After a private competition, we were assigned the development of a complex programme that included both the current programme of the school, and new programmes that should allow a building to last for 150 years. We were to project facilities and enclosures needed to house the educational environment of a school that aims to be leader and embrace the new forms and future of education. Places, spaces, technologies, venues and programmes, many of them unknown today should be housed by a consistent architectural body.
A similar problem, we thought, might have had The first Jesuits who arrived in America, because its facilities and buildings were to endure and stand the test of time as witnesses of a mission that was not to hesitate on affirming certain values in which they firmly believed. Studying the settlement patterns of these buildings, we found a number of topics that were repeated in each of their missions. These works are part of what has been called the “American Baroque” style, which is basically a “synthesis” between the European Greco Latino Christian and American local indigenous cultures.
What do the Jesuit missions Chiquitanía, Chiloé o Paraná have in common? Simple rules and will of order in a chaotic and scattered world. The systematic foundation of religious sites in missions or reductions aimed at evangelizing those thousands of unbelieving souls. Architecturally, we discovered certain patterns like the use of spatial ordering structures of Greco Roman origin as are the buildings around enclosed courtyards, the use of ortogonal regular patterns that are superimposed on an American inhospitable limitless soil, the construction of an horizontal base on which buildings have strict order on blocks and yards which measure and construct protected interiors, mostly classical architecture language elements, (probably influenced by architectural treatises published at the same time, such as Jacopo Vignola, basis of the Church of Gesu in Rome).
The original 1859 school recreates this same spirit, but in a different context. After the expulsion of the Jesuits of America in 1757, a second mission of evangelization comes to cooperate in establishing a growing demand for for their children. These priests, also educated in the classical techniques of woodworking, raise a church and a building to house the fledgling school with a model that follows several of the patterns of their missionarie ancestors.
The new school Project was founded with the idea of rescuing these patterns as: Building a socket over the top of the hill, a new floor to house all the facilities of the school. Over this the whole programme is available in a large building, a single body with multiple parts arranged to surround a single large central courtyard protected from wind.
A construction with local techniques and materials; a modular system that would allow easy growth by stages; woodwork; an architectural unit with multiple parts; a classroom single width volume with a closed corridor gallery to protect from climate. Everything around a large interior space as a cloister surrounded by buildings, forming a protected courtyard. Rhythmic window treatment based on the golden ratio, continuous outer envelope to protect against rain and wind, compact building with ease of heating, outer resources formal austerity and richly detailed interiors, etc.. All of these form a unitary body that dominates the skyline of the future residential neighborhood of Puerto Montt.Location: Puerto Montt, Chile Architects: Martin Hurtado Covarrubias & Sergio Quintana Felice
Project name: Nuevo Colegio San Francisco Javier de Puerto Montt Collaborators: Raimundo Arteaga, Sebastián Erazo, Iván Salas, Andrés Suarez Built area: 27.224,59 m2 Project: 2007 Construction: 2009-2011