October 06, 2010

Titanium Building

October 6, 2010
Flicker: Pablo Alberto
Last Friday I had the opportunity to check out the interior of the Titanium Building, which is currently the tallest building in Santiago measuring 192 meters with 52 floors.

The Titanium Building fared remarkably well after the devastating 8.8 earthquake on February 27th, with very little damage.  It proudly displayed an immense Chilean flag after the earthquake and throughout the month of September in celebration of Chile's 200th year of independence.
Part of the Titanium Building's success during the earthquake is due to the 25 transversal dissipaters and 20 longitudinal installed every three floors.  I had a chance to see these up-close and personal on Friday as well.

The inside was nothing but a disappointment.  A typical finished out building with little to no character.  Office space is outfitted from company to company, differing on each floor.  Office furniture and cubicles do little to capitalize on the architecture of the Titanium Building and the views to Santiago Centro, Rio Mapocho, Cerro Manquehue, and the Andes.

Areas of interest such as structural expression failed to be acknowledged as more than a hinderance.  The exterior 'wings' are not even accessible and are not outfitted with plants or chairs which I had imagined.  Instead they are littered with old coke bottles, cigarette butts, and bits of loose concrete as if they are still under construction.

The main reception space within the lobby receives a massive amount of strong afternoon sun as it was placed on the north face of the building with no protection - blinds or overhang.   The same is to be said for the rest of the building as its orientation did not appear to be considered while being designed. 

There were two things I did like about the Titanium Building.  The main material in the lobby was simple - what appeared to be a raked concrete that made for an interesting texture and unifying element throughout.  The other element I enjoyed were the elevators which were just as slick as the exterior of the building. They are fast and efficient even making my ears pop as we flew from floor 1 to floor 20.

The building screams nothing but money making machine, a clean slick exterior with zero personality on the interior.  It represents what is wrong with our profession - outfitting a skyscraper as a strong symbol of growth in a city, but failing to offer a complete design.  Instead it is just another office building with a big lobby.

All photographs by Kelly Minner unless otherwise noted.

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