publications> other publications>The Republic Canon at a Distance of Five Thousand> Introduction

The Republic Canon at a Distance of Five Thousand
Josep Parcerisa i Bundó José Rosas Vera

First Edition
Edicions UC
105 pages.

15x 21 cm






To date, the relationship between the ETSAB and the EAUC has bequeathed a rich mutual legacy, with wide ranging repercussions in the areas of teaching and research. This collaboration is the fruit of a shared world, made up of many professors from EAUC who participated in masters and PhD programs in the Barcelona School, and some lecturers of the ETSAB who made Santiago de Chile into a close and familiar city, finding in the EAUC a consistently attentive and eager audience for their conferences.

On this occasion it is important to highlight one of these legacies in particular: the valuation of a rigorous description of the city, and awareness of the dialogue that is established between the things of the city and the city itself in terms of general form, and between such things and the project. This legacy comes mainly from the thought and work of the venerable architect Manuel de Solá-Morales, for whom these concerns were of constant interest. Without a doubt, this particular sensibility and comprehension of the urban phenomenon found fertile ground in the rich cartographic tradition of Barcelona. This tradition is one that, on its own, explains the indisputable urban quality achieved by Barcelona as a city. Within a sort of virtuous cycle, and the dynamic of record keeping and projects, both cartographic representation and the material city have been mutually enriched.

It is this intellectual and academic horizon that has driven and oriented recent research on urban maps of Santiago de Chile, focused on the years 1890 and 1910, and developed within the EAUC since 2008. These maps have integrated a rigorous description of the urban facts of the city, responding to the need to provide continuity (to put it one way) to a discontinuous Santiago an cartographic tradition, which had at one time been initiated but never taken back up afterwards.

In effect, even in 2010 on the occasion of the bicentennial celebration of the Republic of Chile, its capital city Santiago did not have a precise planimetry that would allow researchers to perform a critical comparative study of its historic development. This is despite the fact that the city had been mapped exceptionally well in 1890 by the engineer Alejandro Bertrand, and again in 1910 under the auspices of the Illustrious Municipality of Santiago.

The effort involved in the creation of the 1910 map of Santiago is clearly represented by the multiple documents that were needed as sources in order to assemble it. The map that was created as a result, based on the registry of blocks on a scale of 1:500, is highly hypothetical, and allowed researchers to fix the image of a city that is only possible in the sphere of representation, which is to say, in the context of the project itself.

The case of the work on the 1890 map of Santiago is different, as the purpose of this project was to reconstruct a map that had already existed at one point in time, taking into consideration only one source of documented information: the street maps of Alejandro Bertrand, drawn on a scale of 1:200, based on which the original map had been created on a scale of 1:5,000, though this original map has been lost.

In this way, for both projects the focal point of the discussion was on the representation of the city, be it with an emphasis on the interpretive and propositive dimension, as in the case of the 1910 map, or on issues of methodological order, as in the case of the 1890 map. If it were necessary to refer to these problems in terms of questions, it should be said that in the former case the pertinent questions were: What elements should be chosen to construct the map? How should it be assembled? On what scale should it be represented? In the latter case, on the other hand, the central questions would be: What elements did Bertrand choose in order to develop his map? How were they organized?

As a consequence of these two research projects and the present work, it has been possible to reveal unprecedented conditions of the city, both in terms of its historic dimension and in theoretical and critical dimensions as well. This proves that without the previously mentioned representations, this new knowledge would not have been possible.

Without a doubt, both the development of the 1910 map and the restoration of the 1890 map, as sources and the basis for research, allow for a variety of readings and interpretations. The present text, as part of the prologue, is an excellent example of this.

Wren Strabucchi
Germán Hidalgo