From cathedrals to sustainable sky scrapers, Santiago is a well built city loaded with history. From tranquil temples on the fringes of the city to the hustle and bustle of its financial beating heart, Santiago has it all. Here’s a list of the best buildings to astonish the architect in you.
If you’re into natural light or want a quiet place to visit, check out The Baha’i Temple. This building has been an ongoing effort shared by international institutions, professionals and volunteers. The most unique characteristic of the temple is that it is translucent, inspired by a writing of the founder of Baha’i faith. He says that when we allow the light of the divine to enter into our hearts, “all the pillars of the abode (person who the divine is in) shine with His light.” The translucent temple is this metaphor realized. Just walking to the temple is special; designed and executed by Chilean landscape painter Juan Grimm, the space is made up of native species, and through strategic placement, allows visitors to enter from any direction, reflecting the distinct manner in which we move. For a slower pace and gorgeous space to reflect, Baha’i Temple is the place to go.
Consortium, Santiago meets sustainability. The impressive building, owned by the insurance company Consorcio and designed by Enrique Browne and Borja Huidobro, is most known for the plants growing on the sides and roof, another work of Chilean landscape painter Juan Grimm. Modern in its aesthetic and creatively sustainable, Consortium is one of the best buildings in Santiago.
Who said stock exchange had to be boring? Santiago’s Stock Exchange building proves otherwise. Built in the early 1900s under the design of Emile Jécquier, the architecture is reminiscent of the French Renaissance. Located in the center of Santigo, the Stock Exchange is worth a stop, if only to tell the time.
Standing nearly 985 feet (300m) tall, the 64-story skyscraper, also known as Gran Torre Santiago, is the highest lookout in South America. Open 365 days a year and offering a breathtaking 360-degree view of Santiago, a visit to Sky Costanera will change your perspective of Chile’s capital – literally. Tickets are sold on site.
The home to the former National Congress of Chile, this building is Neoclassical in structure with six columns – Corinthian in style – and rich in history. The construction of the building began in 1857, and was carried out by a multitude of architects. In 1895, the majority of the building was destroyed by fire, and later restored by Carlos Bunot, Doyère, Joannon and Von Moltke. Currently, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate and the Library of Congress and are housed here, with gardens surrounding the exterior. For tours of the Library of Congress and a picture on the marble staircase, check out their website.
Formally known as The Palace of La Moneda and currently seat of the Executive Power of Chile, La Moneda began its existence as a building meant for coin minting in 1805. It wasn’t until 1846 that it was designated to by the Government House, under the presidency of Manuel Bulnes. Carlos Ibáñez was the last president to occupy the building in 1958, just seven years after it was declared a national monument. Neoclassical in style, with patios Los Cañones and Los Naranjos within its boundary, La Moneda is elegant and stoic. The main interior spaces include: Living Room Independencia, Salon Toesca, Yellow Room, President’s Gallery and Blue Room. Next door is the La Moneda Culture Center which features an Andy Warhol exhibit.
A step inside Santiago’s Metropolitan Cathedral is a break from the busyness of the city. A stroll through the Catholic Church of Chile’s primary place of worship will surely impress, with ornate ceilings and mesmerizing floors.