Four Decades of Architecture

Fernando Pérez Oyarzún 

Edificio Arauco, Concepción (2018)

Cristián Undurraga is a permanent figure in the development of architecture produced in Chile during the last decades of the 20th century. Following his career and analyzing his work is, as perhaps in no other case of his generation, to take stock of the ups and downs of his country’s architecture. His work has sailed, so to speak, at pace with the evolution of architectural trends, managing to always remain in a prominent place. Undurraga is an architect with an attentive ear to the evolution of the prevailing values and sensibilities of this country throughout his career. In this context, one of the ways of analyzing his work would be to focus on how he has understood and represented those changing values. His architecture is one which has oscillated between thematic poles while tracing a perfectly distinctive path.

The work of Cristián Undurraga, carried out initially in collaboration with his wife Ana Luisa Devés1, earned national and international recognition early on. It helped that he is an effective architect, who has known how to make the most of scarce means, adjust to budget, and provide an indispensable dose of confidence to his clients. All this has contributed to positioning him as one of the main competition winners of his generation, thanks to which he has obtained a significant portion of his commissions.

A most noteworthy element is his interest in the public realm in all its possible architectural sides: from institutional buildings to urban space and social housing. Especially if we have in mind that his career has developed on a scenario where private commissions, which he hasn’t given up either, have been particularly important. This interest in the public, which is at once an ethic conviction and a professional attitude, has placed him in a particularly visible place, subject of multiple national and international distinctions. With a career that began when he has very young, Undurraga has remained present and up-to-date in the professional scene of both Chile and Latin America for over four decades... [+]

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