>>Federico Sánchez

Federico Sánchez | Arquitecto

“When undressed, the man doesn’t exist.”

On his television programme, City Tour, and as dean of the Creative Campus, Federico Sánchez teaches us to think about where and how we live.

Text: Martín García Almeida | Photos: Kreativa Visual | Video: Kreativa Visual

ederico Sánchez did not study architecture to become an architect. What really interested him was the architecture itself. The thought that goes along with the form, that coats and inhabits it. “I discovered that architecture was much more valuable and important than constructing a house or building or, in the best-case scenario, a bridge, even though bridges are magical; the wonder, as Heidegger says, of building land where there is none. I enjoy thinking. It is an activity almost on the verge of not being.”
He started out studying design, driven by a passion for cars. “The history of 20th century art is condensed into cars,” he claims. “The car is the ultimate expression of the process of democratising art.” His teachers advised him to move into architecture, but he asserts that training is a means of finding our own way, and this is not necessarily linear. “While studying architecture, I was still interested in design and art; I would go to all the etching and drawing classes. I was also interested in philosophy and literature. I wanted to learn, to genuinely learn. I was interested in systematically wasting time, as a commitment, and using that wasted time to open up a path to my self.”
These days he serves as dean of the Creative Campus, an academic initiative at the Andrés Bello University, which focuses on architecture, art, design, journalism and advertising degrees. Here he seems to have found the ideal place to coexist with some of his passions, and bring together different creative disciplines in a space for experimentation, creation and innovation.
In the Museum District, there is superb urban life and cultural effervescence.
Federico was just 14 when he moved from Argentina to Chile. “40 years ago, they were very different countries. In Argentina, being different was valued, while in Chile, during those years, being different was subject to severe punishment. I had to fight to become who I am.” His current image, so meticulous, elegant and intelligently designed, seems to be the result of different obsessions. It is a manufactured image, through which a truth materialises: “It is the outside that carries the essence of things. I don’t believe our essence is something transparent, on the inside, that I can reveal only at certain moments of enlightenment. It is what is on the outside that carries the essence, and in this sense, it is what structures my story and who I want to be. So, our clothes, our wardrobes, are a fundamental component of us, at an existential level. In fact, when undressed, the man doesn’t exist. The man exists when he is dressed.”
It is difficult to make your way through the streets of Santiago de Chile while in Federico’s company. He receives constant greetings, photo requests, and questions about the building he is trying to show us. Our Passenger6A has been presenting a television program, City Tour, for several years now. On the show, he underlines the architectural and urban values of Santiago. Using an informal format, clearly designed to educate, he shows the people of Chile the value of thinking about where and how we live.
Chilean architecture is among the three best in the world.
And they love him. He guides us through the streets of the Museum District, the one part of Santiago he feels cannot be missed. “A series of hotels offering some very interesting services have sprung up here. There are excellent restaurants, entertaining bars and extraordinary nightlife, not to mention excellent art, photography and graphic design galleries. There is superb urban life and real cultural effervescence.”

Federico adores his city and is a real advocate for the the global value of Chilean architecture. “We have a type of signature architecture in Chile that is one of the best in the world: Mathias Klotz, Smiljan Radic and now, Alejandro Aravena, a Pritzker prizewinner. There are numerous Chilean architects from an extraordinary generation who have raised our country’s architecture to among the best in the world. These architects know how to reinterpret a series of modern values and ideals. I would say that what is interesting about our country is that, just as English-speaking nations have embraced the concept of high tech, in Chile we have taken on low tech, and it would seem our architecture achieves marvellous sophistication from this low-tech angle. And that is fantastic.”

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