Construction year: 2016
Architect(s): Cazú Zegers
Address: Huérfanos 539, Santiago, Chile
Latitude/Longitude: -33.4389735, -70.6446959
The Magnolia Hotel is presented as a new restoration and intervention project, which appears under the concept of resonance between the ancient and current, memory and present. An echo that comes from yesterday and installs as a support of the contemporary.
The architectonic challenge that worked the resonance was in adding three new floors to the ancient building, to offer a little neighborhood hotel with a historic conservation facade, that has inserted 42 rooms in the middle of the foundational centre of the city.
In order that the new could, consistently, dialogue with the old, the original facade was reflected throughout a photograph of the primal building, taken by Carlos Eguiguren. It was reverse printed over a crystal surface that composes the three new floor facade. An ephemeral, behind worn and transparent resource, that materialized this subtle reinterpretation of history across a contemporary language.
One of the primary intervention strategies answers to the “illuminate the catacomb” concept. The first three original floors were already lacking light, as the classic constructions of that time; the quality that was going to be intensified by adding three new floors, that for the municipal requirement, must follow the same profile of the pristine edifice. The proposal was to take light to those first levels, by opening the three existing patios. This intention was reinforced with the two new ladders around the elevators, which also were conceived as lightning patios and were accompanied with crystallized corridors, in the back circulations of the new rooms, creating natural light bulbs, capable of lighting the whole edifice.
The new intervention acknowledges this patio, working the superior part of the building as a “big attic”, so it coronates the building with a generous terrace, that guides the user to a total vision plan of the territorial environment, beyond a lookout, making him feel immerse in the landscape with views towards Cerro Santa Lucía, Cerro San Cristóbal and the big and tutelary Apu of Santiago: Cerro El Plomo, a female Inca deity.
Although the rooms are small, we proposed strategies to amplify the space by blurring the limits, such as creating bathrooms that becomes part of the decoration, camouflaging them across the translucent curtains or crystal boxes that let the light pass through without taking the air and space making that everything shim where it belongs, without anything missing or extra.
The original floor was reused in ceilings and walls coating, leaving in sight bridges and introducing touches of the contemporary throughout bronze and ladders, design as a metallic and transparent sheet that goes over the construction.
All the design and decorations decisions of the edifice, -guided by the designer Carola Del Piano-, pursued to rescue the ancient centre Bohemia, and it’s debating and conversations environment. This way, an identity of a centre of reunion within the cultural and capital was printed, a reinforced quality by the strategic location in the middle of the centre of Santiago, in the foundational triangle.
Throughout the whole of the hotel, we can find glass impressions in resonance with the facade, which brings a unique experience for the user, losing all limits and distances, even time.
Contributed by Cazú Zegers