«The book is part of a research paper on regional architecture in which a few years ago we were in charge of some academics from the UMAG Department of Architecture. We began to work on this largely because of the absence of rigorous research and publications dedicated to regional architecture for much of the last century, and because, in general, attention had been paid to the architecture of the palaces of the bourgeoisie of the nineteenth century, to industrial or institutional architecture, leaving aside the architecture of the house» , explains Dr. Boris Cvitanic Diaz.
The project was born ten years ago, when the author worked on his doctoral thesis and carried out a housing cadastre of Punta Arenas. «The architects and the works that were executed in the second half of the twentieth century began to appear. There was no rigorous, documented information or dedicated literature from both the designers and their designs. At that time he contacted Miguel García Cuevas, son of one of the architects who repeated the following in the cadastre, and shared with me a background of his father and documents that his mother had kept. From these documents we begin, with the help of students of the Architecture career, to develop a cadastre of his work. After several years of systematization of the information I managed to determine the size of the work projected by Miguel García Fernández», says the academic.
Architect Miguel García Fernández
The professional work of Miguel García Fernández, who was part of the first generation of Magellanic architects who returned to his region to practice after studying at universities in the capital, coincided with a unique moment in the history of the southern territory. From the middle of the twentieth century, the region underwent a productive and social transformation, following the emergence of the oil industry, as well as a concern on the part of the Chilean State addressing, in the Magellan Region, the creation of industries and infrastructure directly and through the Corporation of Magellan (1959-1976). «It was in this context that García Fernández developed more than 400 projects in 18 years of professional practice, in areas such as equipment, industry, housing complexes, funeral architecture, urban monuments, furniture design, and, fundamentally, single-family housing projects», notes Cvitanic, highlighting his recovery of craft trades, such as work in stone, wood or mosaics, integrating them into the composition of his architectural works. It also highlights its social sensitivity, in addressing the housing problems of those years, considering prefabrication and self-construction for medium or disadvantaged segments.
Thanks to research funded by the Fondart Regional 2017, a study of García Fernández’s housing projects was carried out, which led to the writing of the book. On the importance of this publication, the professional points out that it would be the first book dedicated to the history of architecture of the second half of the twentieth century in the city of Punta Arenas. «Miguel García is a fundamental character of that period because of the volume, quality and uniqueness of his projected work, but also because he managed to get a lot of his designs built. A significant number of them persist in the central sector of the city and are part of the daily image of it,» he said.
The presentation of the book, which is supported by the Editorial of the University of Magallanes will be held this Thursday, December 10 at 19.00 hours, via online through the UMAG Youtube channel, which will be shared live through its social networks, including the UMAG Cultural Window platform on Facebook.