BEYOND THE APPEREANCE OF HERITAGE: Reconstruction of Historic Areas Affected by Earthquakes in Chile

Bernadette Devilat Loustalot



Earthquakes have progressively destroyed Chilean built heritage over the years, not only due to the initial devastation they produce but also due to the applied reconstruction approaches that follow, which has been addressed using non-specific instruments such as social housing subsidies. Moreover, it often aims only to recreate the previous built form, dwellings that look ‘as before’, but using contemporary materials and building techniques, losing the progressive and sustainable culture that used to characterize their buildings. This raises the question of authenticity and its social and normative corollaries. The objective of this paper is to explore this issue by discussing reconstruction projects that have been built in heritage areas after the 2010 earthquake, considering their formal coherence in relation to the previous architecture, as well as their applied building techniques and the inhabitants’ perception of the reconstruction process. The results indicate that the sustainability that used to characterize dwellings is not present in their replacements. This paper follows the idea that heritage should be reconsidered as a sustainable way of designing, going beyond formal approaches.


earthquakes; re-construction; heritage; building techniques; sustainability

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