Dezeen Magazine

Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić

Smiljan Radić works on fire station and playground for Chilean civic hub

Architects Smiljan Radić, Eduardo Castillo and Danilo Lazcano teamed up on this community hub in San Pedro de La Paz, Chile, featuring a bright red fire station, raised black walkway and a playground.

Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić

Radić, Castillo and Lazcano won a contest to design the 15,050-square-metre masterplan for the Boca Sur neighbourhood.

The competition titled I Love my Suburb called for a plan that included a fire station alongside a range of community facilities such as a multi-use hall, a library and play areas.

Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić

The architects wanted to "consolidate this area as a protected, public space" within the low-income neighbourhood, which is bordered by farmland on one side.

They designed two board-marked concrete structures to define the perimeter of the Boca Sur Civic District, enclosing an open area containing a playground, sports court and seating area at the centre.

"The project will project the image of the entrance to the district, [which is] nestled amongst horticultural
plots and an 80-metre-wide dune that runs for several kilometers along the Pacific Ocean," explained the architects in a statement.

A linear block that runs along one side of the district is painted a vibrant red to match the fire engines is houses, while a white structure containing a hall, library and shops sits behind a black-painted wall across the playground.

Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić

A black elevated walkway incorporating a contemporary clocktower with a digital clock stands in front of the fire station. The path takes the shape of an elongated S to loosely confine the play area it overlooks.

Ramps set down at either end of the walkway invite visitors up from the street or play area. Where the path coincides with the sheltered entrance to the fire station the ramp angles to one side, keeping access to an adjoining road clear.

Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić

The final edge of the site is marked by a row of black concrete market stalls for vegetable sellers overlooked by a broad flight of matching black steps.

The Boca Sur Civic District opened in 2017.

Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić

Smiljan Radić and Eduardo Castillo also recently collaborated on a theatre in the nearby city of Concepción, which features a translucent skin that lends the building the appearance of a paper lantern at night.

Photography is by Cristobal Palma.

Project credits:

Architecture: Smiljan Radić
Collaborators: Eduardo Castillo, Danilo Lazcano
Structural engineering: B. y B. Ingeniería Estructural

More images and plans

Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić
General floor plan
Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić
Fire station ground floor plan
Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić
Multi use building ground and second floor plan
Centro Civico by Smiljan Radić
Exploded isometric drawing