Corrugated City

Tuesday, 30 October 2007


It's been a really long time since i posted any new graffiti but today i saw some new stuff...

There's both left and right wing graffiti around town

Liechstenstein-style is quite popular with stencil-artists here

Shame this one got graffiti'd by someone without talent

Valparaiso-Capital de las Flores (again)

We headed back down to El Plan for lunch and to go see the flower stalls i mentioned on Sunday. The mini-feria and flower picture were sponsored by the Ilustre Municipalidad de Hijuelas, a countryside region about 45 minutes inland from Valparaiso. This is exactly the sort of thing Valparaiso should be doing all over the country and abroad as well. There were pamphlets giving detailed tourist info about the area, info about what to do there and also investment information (it's an agricultural zone famous for its flowers and avocados). The stalls were full of local products-flowers, plants, empanadas, chocolates, honey, leather goods and, most importantly, huge chocolate covered fresh strawberries...hmmmmm

Not sure how much longer it'll all be there for so if you want to have a wander through, you'll find it all in front of my favourite building in Valparaiso down in Plaza Bellavista.

Monday, 29 October 2007

10 Ways to Improve Valparaiso

Here are a few ideas that have occurred to me over the past few months.

1. Start an official antique fair (not a tat-fair) every Sunday-at least during the summer months- on Cerro Concepcion, in the streets that surround the Anglican Church just like in San Telmo over in Buenos Aires.

2. Allow only residents' parking on Cerro Concepcion (during the day everyone who works downtown leaves their cars up here clogging up the streets).

3. Permanent police patrol on Cerros Concepcion and Alegre. As the area gentrifies and becomes more and more popular with tourists, it attracts more and more opportunist thieves. Take note of other cities worldwide and increase police presence in the city's most touristy areas. This also includes Sector La Matriz.

4. Build an aquarium. Valparaiso is a beautiful city to wander around and in which to soak up the atmosphere but there's no real attraction here. Build a world class aquarium (after all, we are by the blinking sea here) and the city could attract not just more foreign tourists but locals as well.

5. Advertise for crying out loud. Put big posters up at the airport, build a city website and blog (a la Buenos Aires). Tell the world about Valparaiso. Set up a mobile tourist information centre on the 50+ cruise ships that dock in the city every single year. Attract more tourists and more investment.

6. A bit of government assistance wouldn't go amiss. The Ecuadorian government puts aside some us$30 million a year to maintain the spectacular Centro Historico in Quito. Valparaiso receives in the region of $14.73 (pesos chilenos) from the Chilean government. Shameful.

7. Do as UNESCO demands and get rid of the absurd overhead cabling that ruins pretty much every photo you take of Valparaiso. Bury all electrical and TV cables underground.

8. Pedestrianise the Sector La Matriz, buy out the building owners and offer tax breaks or cheap rent for 2 years to investors willing to open shops and cafes (this is what Quito does, to great effect). Turn the area into a friendly, cafe culture zone.

9. Force GasValpo to change every single centimetre of gas piping in the city. Too many explosions due to poor maintenance.

10. Get rid of the stray dogs. Castrate them, murder them, turn them into empanadas...i don't care. Just get them off the streets and stop them causing traffic accidents and scaring off tourists who think they're bite-y (they're not but they are yappy).

10 (a). Put me in charge :)

Any other ideas out there?

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Valparaiso, Capital de las Flores (for a couple of days)

As it's such a beautiful, sunny day we decided to have a quick asadito (little bbq). We headed off to the supermarket and came across a mini-flower show being set up. I think it starts tomorrow and will be here 'til Tuesday or Wednesday, down in Plaza Bellavista, next to Plaza Anibal Pinto. Here are a couple of photos (not the best quality, i only had my phone with me to take pictures)-they're setting up a display of flowers and plants to make a big, pretty picture....ahhhh...and they'll be stalls and whatnot as well.

We were hungry so we couldn't be bothered to buy a big piece of beef and wait for it to cook. Instead we bought some carne tártara which is the leanest ground beef. I chucked a few breadcrumbs, red onion and green chili into the mix and made burgers to be eaten with smoked bacon and pebre...hmmmm...

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Arquitecto Esteban Orlando Harrington, Valparaiso

I've been trying to gather information on Arquitecto Esteban Orlando Harrington for the last few weeks. It has proved almost impossible. The reason i've wanted to do a post on Harrington is, simply, because he was one of Valparaiso's most prolific architects and his work can be seen all over the city.

I have managed to find a basic story of him on line and i also found a number of buildings that bear his name. There are many other houses and larger buildings in Valparaiso that bear striking resemblances to Harrington's work but that do not bear his signature. I've left these out as i can't be 100% sure that he was the author...i might go back and photograph them and post them as possibles in the future.

So, onto the history part.

Harrington was born in Valparaiso in 1873 to an American father- William Harrington- and a Chilean mother- Protasia Arellando. He was particularly prolific between 1908 and 1910 (after the 1906 earthquake destroyed much of the city), building houses for the rich and large buildings as well. His main areas of work appear to be in Playa Ancha and Cerro Concepcion. Apparently, he designed many of the houses on Avenida Gran Bretaña up in Playa Ancha but i couldn't find his signature on any of them...

He did live in Playa Ancha in a pasaje that was renamed Pasaje Harrington after his tragic and slightly comical death up the wheels of a trole in 1936. He was 63.

And that's all i've come up after weeks of searching. Apparently i'm not the only one looking for information-i found questions posted on various forums from a number of architects asking for info-none received an answer. One of the questions posted was from an architecture student from Valparaiso called...Daniel Harrington. Even his family can't find anything on him...

So you'll just have to make do with some photos to supplement your undoubted thirst for knowledge of an obscure American-Chilean architect.

The yellow house is the Harrington B&B, currently undergoing a major's been a long job so i hope the new owners get it finished in time for summer...there are 3 identical houses in a row. I couldn't get a good shot of the third one.

Heading downtown and on the corner of Errazurriz and Pasaje Ross is this monster building. I really like the security bars

On Plaza Sotomayor is the Hotel Reina Victoria. This pink blancmange of a building is actually for sale at an absurd price. It is used by ladies of disrepute and their "friends".

And finally...moving on to Pasaje Harrington up in Playa Ancha. I took photos of all the houses there but one. Of course, the one i failed to photo was the house Harrington actually lived in.

And that, i'm afraid, is your lot. I'll keep looking out for new buildings of his and i'll post them periodically. I have a suspicion i'll find a lot more downtown heading out towards Avenida Argentina...we'll see...

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Renovations...nap time

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago and then promptly forgot about's one of our carpenters on his lunch break.

Monday, 22 October 2007


Today the builders woke me up (along with the entire neighbourhood) at 8am by deciding it was a good time to start cutting iron bars. When i went up to check what was going on, it looked like they had a lot of cutting left to do...and that metal cutting screeching noise is pretty much the only construction noise i simply cannot deal with. So i jumped in the car, called a friend and headed up the coast for lunch in Zapallar.

So here's where we had lunch...reineta with ensalada chilena (that's tomato and onion with a bit of parsley chucked on top) with some of the best chips i've had in ages. Reasonably expensive by Chilean standards but worth it (us$20 a head)

Next to the restaurant lives a flock of hungry pelicans who know that if they hang around long enough, someone will throw them something to eat

Spring appears to be far more advanced in Zapallar than anywhere else i've been recently...maybe the sea and hills make for a microclima

A local school decided to have a PE lesson on the beach. If you look carefully inbetween the two boys, you'll spot a spear like object. Under the watchful gaze of the teacher (not in the photo), the two boys were launching a metal-tipped javelin at each other. Possibly to impress the girl on the right hand side. If either of them died this afternoon, i can only say that he earned it.

There was also a JCB on the beach, digging out the canal that runs through the beach. It obviously hasn't rained enough to keep it open there was a build up of....

...this. Raw sewage. Flushed straight through the beach and into the sea at Chile's most expensive and beautiful sea-side town. Quite unbelievable.

But not as unbelievable as this truly disgusting condominio, just 1 minute outside of Zapallar and overlooking the town. I've seen some horrible planning mistakes but this is by far the worst. I simply cannot understand how, in a town inhabited only by the super-rich, this sprawling mess of Butlinsalike cheapo huts got through planning permission. I'd be surprised to see it anywhere in Chile but the fact that it's in Zapallar, a small town with a very distinct architectural style and heritage makes it worse. This place is a huge mistake and will be regretted for years to come. The photo doesn't do justice to the hideousness of the complex. Vomit inducing.