I never tire of touring the Barrio Lastarria. I have gone so many times, as a diner, quality film viewer, as a tour guide and as a cartoonist. It is small, but it has a charm and character that makes it a pleasure to walk along its main street and through the small ones that frame it and pleasant because of its prolific shade due to its numerous old trees.
Years ago I had made several drawings of this neighborhood. Taking advantage of the fact that I had to go for some passengers staying at the Cumbres Hotel, I started the first drawing of the season. Although I did not have a crochet or pencil. I looked for a bookstore and I did not find any, so I decided to try my luck at the Library of Architecture, in the San Borja Remodeling. I was lucky because it was the last dpi they opened before the holidays. I bought a watercolor paper crochet, with a ring, so I could take out the sheets if I wanted to. And a disposable rapidograph 0.1. Loaded and full of emotion I returned to Lastarria. I installed myself in front of the Paseo Lastarria, in the middle of the path I sat down, without my traditional portable little flat. I started drawing pretty stiff. With semi-continuous and contour lines. I was putting the situation together. The result was not good technically and competitively, but it allowed me to converse with some people, receive the emotional reinforcement that never hurts and go home full, feeling that I did something satisfying and productive. This was the first step in a week very different from the ones I had had. Free without more tourists that week, I took the Metro and left every other morning to draw. Drawing to drawing left the hand and the eye. I was no longer satisfied to fill the whole sheet, but I wanted to play more with full versus empty spaces, making a more artistic composition. I did not miss the color. What's more, I loved to immerse myself in the beauty of shadows, to gouge and gouge, line after line, angle after angle, detail after detail. Go assembling the work like an embroidery, without haste, without any purpose other than to enjoy the beauty of the ornament, merge with it and capture it on paper. I was approached as usual by people to talk. But then I was still focused, enjoying the pleasure of drawing. A pleasure that had slipped away for so long.
Barrio Lastarria has a "Zona Típica" designation. Its axis is José Victorino Lastarria Street, crossed by streets and passages, from Alameda to Merced, where it joins the Forest Park. In the sixteenth century there were vineyard farms there, which were then divided into ten fifths separated by alleys. It was not until the end of the 19th century that people began to settle around the Church of the Vera Cruz. Surrounded by the neighborhood by the recently enclosed Cerro Santa Lucia, and the new Forestry Park and National Palace of Fine Arts, it attracted then great characters of our history as Mrs. Victoria Subercaseaux (cousin and wife of the mayor Vicuña Mackenna Benjamin), President Pedro Aguirre Cerda, the liberal writer and thinker José Victorino Lastarria, the architect and painter Nemesio Antúnez, the painter Camilo Mori, the novelist Luis Orrego Luco, the architect Luciano Kulczewski, who besides living there, designed houses together with the other renowned architects of the time: Duhart, Bolton, Larraín Bravo, Cruz Montt, Prieto Casanova and Ried.
This house with category of Historic Conservation Property is on the corner of Merced with Lastarria: Its neo-baroque style is the work of the architect Alberto Cruz Montt and dates from the early twentieth century. It was originally designed as a house for the Valdés Freire family, but it was known to house the Chilean Chilean Institute of Culture. Abandoned for years, were the Cicalli brothers, owners of the Liguria, who restored it, fully recovering its façade and preserving the original Montt inside, in addition to achieving dramatically beautiful environments.
CASA COLL AND PI
In the southern corner of José Victoriano Lastarria with Villavicencio is this house, called Casa Coll y Pi (or "De Coll y Pi"). It was the home of the Barcelona sculptor and painter Antonio Coll y Pi who was a professor of applied art in Chile and among his most outstanding works in Santiago are the front of the Museum of Fine Arts, the caryatids of the Palace of Courts, the Ornamental Portico of the Station Mapocho, the monuments to Alonso de Ercilla and the Firemen. This house was known as the "Cafe the Biographer" or the "Leftist Republic", because it was there where politicians, actors and writers forged the return to democracy until the remembered celebration of the triumph of the NO in the plebiscite.
FILM THE BIOGRAPH
Located next to Casa Coll y Pi, the Cine El Biógrafo was built in the 80's as an art and rehearsal room, by a group of advertising film directors. At the end of that decade it was refurbished by Transeuropa Chile. At present, it has a clear image linked to quality films, such as auteur, independent American and European cinema.
HOUSE OR LASTARRIA
Undoubtedly one of the most outstanding constructions in Lastarria, this beautiful red house is of neocolonial style (homage "criollista" to the own colonial architecture and an approach diametrically opposed to the prevailing Frenchness in the Centennial.) It was built in 1912 with residential destination Due to the overflows of the Mapocho, its foundations are made of stone, the third floor is a gallery from where you can see the Cerro Santa Lucía and the neighborhood, it was home to prominent figures of culture such as Luis Orrego Luco, naturalist Philippi and the architect Emil Jecquier Álvaro Flaño (who had already recovered one of the Subercaseaux Houses in front of the Municipal Theater was the one who undertook its restoration.
Quite new compared to the neighboring buildings is this space open to the public with restaurants. The terraces display tables and umbrellas and the garrons wait attentive to their guests. Its appeal attracts many tourists and locals looking to take a break in the middle of the city.