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Post-event report | Venice - Sebastián Irarrázaval: For a more ancient and sterner world


Author: Fernanda De Maio

With the second lecture we fully enter the theme promoted by this series of Venetian November Talks, "The form follows the planet". Sebastian Irarrazaval's lecture proposes to consider Courtesy as the fundamental quality for shaping space on our planet, since it is the primary human attitude that allows us to negotiate the presence of the others.

Courtesy organises and articulates our interaction with someone else, the loved one, the adversary, the familiar and the stranger. Courtesy teaches us how to deal with welcome and with rejection. Courtesy teaches us when to touch and when not to touch and the subtle ways of touching. Courtesy teaches us how to behave when we are strangers. Courtesy teaches us how to get out of ourselves and open up to the infinite otherness. Courtesy also teaches how to translate the signals of others. That is why being a good translator and architect means being a perfect host. In the end, the notion of courtesy encompasses other notions such as care, coexistence, inclusion and co(im)munity, notions that, in order to overcome the environmental crisis, it is more than necessary to cultivate. In this way, the Chilean architect links one of the pillars of his design strategy, the translation, to the broader issue of taking care of the planet and society. Indeed, the design projects presented gravitate around these notions of coexistence and care. In a context of increasing vulnerability and in order to create better immunity and communities, these projects address the boundaries of the building as the predominant territory of intervention. Some design projects seek guidelines in the rural world and intend, with less or more success, to be deeply specific to the site.

Irrarazaval therefore presents five of his architecture works, each of which, based on the theme " The form follows the planet", is reinterpreted according to the specifics of the site and the needs of the client, transforming and articulating the starting motto into a starting point for reading the design projects:

with the motto "The form follows Co(im)munity” the architects presented the restoration of a building under monumental protection in the pueblo Huemul of Santiago de Chile, to be transformed into a public library for children; with the subsequent "The form follows preservations" the theme of self-maintenance is emphasised as an issue to be kept under control already during the first phases of the design of a public work such as the theatre for the village of Mataquito; Whereas the motto "The form follows the habits" shows the transformation of the arena form and the Chilean rodeo ritual connected to it (which is now disappearing), into a new hotel in Patagonia related to the new mass rituals linked to tourism.

The last two design projects are completed works interpreting respectively the concept of "The form follows the care" with the last house by the sea designed by Irarrazaval and "The form follows different abilities" connected with the project of the school as "integral education centre for disabled children Jena Luis Undurraga" in Talagante whose client is a private foundation.

You can download the high-resolution images here.

The follow-up reports, also from the other locations, will also be made available to you gradually. You will then find these data under the following link.


Watch our interview with Sebastián Irarrázaval on our YouTube channel.

You can find all dates of this year's November Talks on our website The website also contains brief video clips of interviews with the speakers.

Please direct queries to

Kirsten Ludwig
Oberdorfstraße 31 A
70794 Filderstadt
T.: +49 711 9454161-20