The Last Piece of the Puzzle

architect Mathias Klotz
project Nicanor Parra Library, Santiago Chile
written by Francisca Insulza


Just like any other jigsaw, the Nicanor Parra Library by Mathias Klotz cannot be fully understood if not as part of the big-picture strategy that the Universidad Diego Portales, to which it belongs, put into place in 2002.


A private institution which was created in 1982, after the liberalization of the Chilean educational system, the Universidad Diego Portales (udp) was anchored, from its beginning, in the west-central district of Republica, a late 19th century run-down neighborhood of old mansions that in the 1980s provided the university with a well-located and economic alternative where its educational project was to develop. As the udp, its faculty, the staff and the student body grew during the 1990s, the university expanded within the neighborhood by buying and refurbishing the large, existing houses to accommodate its demands. The piecemeal development intensified in 2002 when – having celebrated its 20th anniversary and conscious of the need to create high-quality infrastructure to compete in a growing market – the udp set in motion an ambitious, long-term plan – financed with the emission of a bond and backed by the World Bank – to expand its infrastructure.