Inauguration of the restoration works of the historic PUCV building located in the heart of the El Almendral neighborhood of Valparaíso


Located at the crossroads of Brasil and Argentina avenues, facing the sea, is the centennial building that houses the central house of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, recently restored in the facade and inside.

Characterized by an eclectic style, with decorative elements in floral motifs, it was one of the first reinforced concrete buildings in the country and in 2003 it was declared a National Historic Monument.

The restoration work on this traditional Buenos Aires building located in the heart of the El Almendral neighborhood of Valparaíso lasted more than 500 days, admired every day by thousands of people passing through the sector.

This Tuesday, in a ceremony presided over by the rector of the PUCV, Nelson Vásquez, and the governor of Valparaíso, Rodrigo Mundaca, the works -approved by the National Monuments Council- were inaugurated, which allowed the restoration of the external facades and internal courtyards as well to enable five halls, where cultural and academic activities at the service of the community take place.

“For our Institution it is a reason for joy and satisfaction, through a symbolic act, to recognize the effort made by the Regional Council to finance the restoration of our Central House, a historic building that is more than 94 years old and which has hosted many generations of students and teachers. The restoration of this precious property is a gift, not only to the University, but also to the city of Valparaíso and to the region. The Central House has always been open to the community and will continue to be so,” said the Rector Vasquez.

For his part, Governor Mundaca indicated that the project began taking shape in 2020 and culminated in 2022: “It is valuable work that is related to highlighting the Central House’s asset value. PUCV is a leading institution, over 94 years old and with 19,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Their role is irreplaceable and professionals who are deeply committed to the territory are trained in this Study House”.

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The construction company has carried out a meticulous restoration work where ornamental parts of the facade have been restored and contemporary techniques have been used to give life to those elements that were used at the beginning of the 1900s, but which deteriorated over time. Basically, the aim was for Central House to remain as similar as possible to when it first opened its doors in March 1928.

The investment was 2,800 million pesos and corresponds to the resources approved by the Regional Government, to which was added the contribution of 600 million pesos from the house of studies.

The head of the PUCV projects department, Juan Pavez, indicated that the works were contracted and awarded to the company Restauración y Rehabilitación Kalam SA and started in January 2021 with a duration of 530 days. “We worked on almost 5,000 meters of façade, both external and internal, which have undergone a rather significant process of degradation. We have made progress in the recovery of wood and roofs, all original with raulí, pieces of doors, windows, railings, tiles that were in bad condition, returning everything to their original state, “he added.

The project consisted in the restoration of the four external facades, the internal patios and in the improvement of the finishes of the Hall of Honor, the Multipurpose Hall and the V Centenario Rooms, Alberto Cruz and Emilio Tagle.

The roof has undergone thorough disinfection of the xylophagous agents present in the wood and the elements in bad condition have been replaced. Once the facade was recovered, the external color was harmonized using a technology that enhanced the original tone of the building.

413 new ornaments were created and installed, the production process of which was carried out in a specially set up die-cutting laboratory, and 1,453 ornaments were reintegrated, recovering the pieces volumetrically, respecting the principle of maintaining originality.

The works saw the total participation of more than 215 workers, 26 specialized craftsmen, all from regional SMEs, with a professional technical team of 18 people, who guarded international standards and good conservation and restoration practices.

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