The Ciudad Abierta, founded in 1970 on Ritoque sand dunes, north of Valparaiso, was born out of the encounter between poetry and different professions, united in the search for a consonance between speech and action. The project dates back to the 50s when the Design and Architecture School of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in Chile primed a process of research and reflection on their own work, guided by the poetic word.
“La Ciudad abierta de Amereida, Chile. Utopia in Progress”
October 02 to December 13 2015
Espace architecture La Cambre Horta, ULB.
19bis Place Flageyplein
In 1965, a group of architects, designers, poets, artists and philosophers undertook an expedition (travesía) through the South American continent, from Cape Horn to the Santa Cruz Sierra in Bolivia. The group was moved by the vastness of the territory; which led them to develop a reflection on being American. It is from this fundamental experience, embodied through the poem of Amereida (“Aeneid” American), that Ciudad Abierta was born, a city that faces the Pacific Ocean and which collects the poetic gestures through interventions (actos) but also by spoken word. Subsequently, an agora (place to discuss) was built, followed by hospederías (places to live), public spaces (places to go) and the cemetery (the ultimate places for rest).
Everything happens here through the union of life, work and study; a unit that becomes possible thanks to hospitality, a principle that was established with the place, with the peoples themselves and with visitors, called hosts. Being host is the first mode of relationship can be established with the Ciudad Abierta. Whenever we present our work, the opportunity offered to us to present our creativity in its most intimate aspects and, therefore, all that is shown here is the demonstration of the spirit of openness that poetry can offer.
CIUDAD ABIERTA. RITOQUE, CHILE.
A few kilometers north of Valparaiso, a group of architects, painters, sculptors and poets created in 1971 a place where architecture leaves its mathematical and rational hegemony to be closer to nature again. A space of experimentation where poetry is needed as an act intended by the founder, Chilean architect Alberto Cruz and the Argentinian poet Godofredo Iommi. The winding road stretches to Ritoque, name of the village near the Ciudad Abierta, along the Pacific coast from Valparaiso, and then moves away to cross a huge stretch of dunes.
In this area of 270 hectares, where marine vegetation breaks the uniformity of the stretch of sand, one discovers surprising buildings of imagination, closer to science fiction. Sandy paths lead to different constructions: facades shaped sails filled by the wind, like a space ship that seems to have asked, from a neighboring star, wooden house whose roof recalls the ocean waves very close…
Influenced by Mallarmé, Rimbaud and André Breton Surrealism , the founders, some of whom teach at the Catholic University of Valparaiso, wanted to enroll in the tradition of Le Corbusier and make architecture a way of being and thinking. The Ciudad Abierta must be a laboratory, a cooperative of businesses without social or economic link, an area of freedom of expression and creation on leading architectures and sculptures that can not be conducted elsewhere because of dependent rules, urban habits or lack of political will, or simply because they were too bold.
The audacity of the works is the result of the status of a philosophical and poetic spirit that reigned in this form of cooperative: to make possible the vision, the imagination of each member. Each hospederia (hostel) was built to house its architect, the sculptor, or poet, performed without a plan, otherwise succinct and thought by all. These constructions (fifteen) are meant to be light and constantly changing. Moreover, some scaffolding remains and blends into the construction. If one disassembles it to improve or revise the forms, the materials are recovered and used for other projects. A workshop helps prepare for this.
One room, called the music room, served as an agora where people congregated without hierarchy, without power, without doctrine, just enough to organize and give birth to each of visions. Some courses of the Valparaiso University of architecture were given there. Some unfinishied sculptures made of wood, stone or iron linked the buildings together. Because of their respective isolation, in this vast sea of space, they retained their character and poetry. Within the dunes, a cemetery or rather a work of art. There, among other members of the early days of the Ciudad Abierta, lay Godofredo Iommi and his wife Ximena.
GENESIS OF THE EXHIBITION
In 2008 Geneviève François, Delegate of the Wallonia-Brussels region in Santiago, after four years of scientific and academic cooperation between French-speaking Belgium and Chile, focused her attention to Chilean potential corresponding to these areas, and Ciudad Abierta could not escape her curiosity. Unique in the field of architecture and the transmission of knowledge, the Chilean university had a concept that challenged Geneviève François. She considered necessary to bring it to the attention of Belgium.
Geneviève François looked for a filmmaker interested in depicting Ciudad Abierta into a film. Charles Palouzie fit this profile. The concept was to make known, without using the film artifice, but rather directly and primarily by the academic world. Charles Palouzie met David Vanderburgh, professor and academic coordinator at the Faculty of Architecture at Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL). Their views converged and the project of an exhibition in Brussels takes shape.
Principals, teachers, architects and artists of the Chilean university, all become accomplices of the project. We will retain two speakers: David Jolly, who was dean and Ivàn Ivelic, its new director. They preserved the bonds, assumed exchanges and energized all members of the Ciudad to give birth in October 2015, the scenography of the exhibition “Utopia in motion” (Utopia in progress).
During the various phases of project preparation, in addition to WBI, first support, other actors and not least joined the project: the CIVA, Brussels, major partner, as it houses the exhibition with the Faculty of Architecture The Cambre-Horta-ULB, located Place Flagey, the Embassy of Chile in Brussels in the person of Ambassador Enrique Carlos Appelgren, the Consul Rodrigo Dominguez, coordinator of exchange for the financial support of Chile and theChamber of Commerce Belgo Chile, its president, Christian Ghymers, its Vice President Geneviève François. This body is responsible for supporting the event by bringing together the sponsors needed to finance the exhibition.