Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Green, Sustainable Architecture And UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Cases Of Valparaíso, Chile; Krakow, Poland; And Lviv, Ukraine

Resumed civilization comes to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Valparaíso, Chile (above) and Krakow, Poland (below).


Plug-in Pavilion, Valparaíso, Chile: Architectural Design by René Davids and Taylor Medlin

On Exhibit: January 19 – May 15, 2009, Townsend Center for the Humanities, University of California, Berkeley

The Chilean port city of Valparaíso was established as a World Heritage Site in 2003, largely to protect the environment in which its ascensores (hillside inclined elevators) were created and in which they are still needed and used. The city offered the opportunity to design and develop ideas related to a World Heritage Site that are integral to the fabric of everyday life and that contain the most memorable feature of its urban landscape – form, symbol and function all at once.

Valparaíso is one of the most distinctive urban environments in all of South America. An abrupt change of level occurs between the coastal strip and the foothills, which rise in an arc to a height of almost 2,000 feet and separate the city into two levels. The upper and lower areas of the city are tenuously connected by steep stairways, streets winding up the ravines, and a network of fifteen nearly vertical pedestrian elevators, or ascensores.

Prosperous in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Valparaíso began a slow decline when the opening of the Panama Canal eliminated much of the ship traffic around Cape Horn. The consolidation of commerce and industry in the capital city of Santiago to the East and the neighboring city of Viña del Mar to the North also damaged Valparaíso’s prosperity. An increase in the number of paved streets to accommodate cars and buses, and construction of new facilities for convenient mass transit in the hills, gradually reduced the need for the ascensores, leaving many in a state of disrepair.

We propose to encourage the use of the Valparaíso World Heritage Site by providing the city with wind-generated electricity, a new technology that, like the ascensores, will encourage commercial expansion and continue to foster a sense of community. …



Arata Isozaki's Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology, Krakow, Poland, European Union, 1994.

"At the turn of the 20th centuries, Feliks “Manggha” Jasienski introduced his Japanese art collection to Polish audiences in Krakow, Lviv, and Warsaw. Though at first received with little enthusiasm, Japanese art – especially landscape painting –soon became an important point of reference for the Polish modernists. The Polish and Japanese traditions blended together to create a unique, new current called “Polish Japanism”."


Photo credits: (c) Paula Moya 2007. Copyright controlled. (c) 2009.


History Museum of Krakow, Poland

Lviv, Ukraine's Center for Urban History of East Central Europe


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