English versions of the following articles are available online

Title: Zones of Economic Exception
Author: Keller Easterling. Professor, School of Architecture, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Abstract: The ‘zones’ –parts of territory that have an exceptional legal status– are sharply depicted in Keller Easterling’s recent book Extrastatecraft: the power of infrastructure space. Explaining that zones are repeatable spatial formulas used by the most powerful people in the world (so they have huge political consequences), in this interview Easterling also provides a series of arguments for why architects should not ignore these kinds of spatial products.
Keywords: capital, urbanism, active form, exemption, incentives.
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Title: The Garden of Intersecting Paths. The Remodelación San Borja and the schools of architecture
Author: Rodrigo Pérez de Arce. Professor, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: Chilean cities have had few exceptional moments. The period of the Corporation for Urban Improvement (CORMU) between 1965 and 1975 was one of them. By analyzing the Remodelación San Borja in Santiago, perhaps the most ambitious project built by the CORMU during Frei Montalva’s term, this text reminds us that when utopias were not yet replaced by pragmatism, architecture schools did contribute to the construction of the city from the state’s apparatus.
Keywords: project, towers, utopia, CORMU, Santiago.
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Title: An Exceptional Trajectory. Civic Integration and Collective Design in the UNCTAD III Building
Author: David Maulén. Assistant Professor, Escuela de Diseño, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: It is hard to find in Chilean history a building more exceptional than the UNCTAD III. Not only its original project conditions –deadline, team, location and political relevance– transformed it into a unique case, but also its further trajectory, which went hand in hand with the country’s political history. This paper analyzes these paths, pointing out the technological and social conditions that allowed the building to become a reflection of the society that has surrounded it.
Keywords: architecture, Chile, Unidad Popular, developmentalism, horizontality.
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Title: Prisoners of Ritoque. The Open City and the Concentration Camp
Author: Ana María León. Assistant professor, History of Art and Romance Languajes and Literatures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.
Abstract: In the early 1970s there were two spaces of exception in Ritoque: a school of architecture and a concentration camp. While there was no contact between them, their occupants formed communities and used similar repertoires (games, events and performances) to create real and imaginary spaces. School professors formed a utopian enclave that freed them from regulatory structures but limited its political action. Camp prisoners instead turned their forced isolation into active political resistance.
Keywords: architecture, pedagogy, performance, theater, dictatorship.
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Title: Club Architecture. A Vessel of Behavior, Language and Politics
Author: Sol Pérez Martínez. PhD (c) Architecture and Education University College London, London, England.
Abstract: Without constituting a heterotopia, since it is not a place to confine ‘otherness’ but to bring together those who precisely turn away from it, the club is perhaps the best-known urban manifestation of a space of exception. Explaining its emergence in Victorian England, and analyzing one of its emblematic cases in London, this text allows us to understand not only the club spatiality but also its architectural politics of exclusion.
Keywords: typology, exclusion, gentlemen, Reform Club, London.
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Title: Architecture in Crisis. Exception as a Form of Decay
Author: Pelin Tan. Professor, Faculty of Architecture, Artuklu University, Mardin, Turkey.
Abstract: Although Agamben defines the camp (concentration or refugees camp) as the paradigm of the state of exception, this statement overlooks not only the physical and spatial conditions of the camp, but also everyday practices that take place inside. Analyzing the spatial practices in current refugee camps in Turkey, the text shows that its design often forgets the very humanity of the refugee.
Keywords: camps, refugees, biopolitics, commoning, Turkey.
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Title: Institutionalization of the Exception: The Competition as Search and Process
Author: José Manuel Falcón. Professor, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico. / Carlos Domenzain. Professor, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico.
Abstract: Through the recent competition of the Guggenheim Foundation for a new museum in Helsinki, this text analyzes the logics of architecture competitions. Understanding them as paradoxical instances that institutionalize the search for exceptional projects, the question arises: where is the exceptional left when the competition is transformed into a factory? Is contemporary architecture an industry of the exception?
Keywords: selection, singularity, museum, Guggenheim, Helsinki.
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Editorial. Conditions of exception

It was Vasari who in the xvi Century taught us to read the history of architecture through the careers of the great artists, exceptional characters whose talents had led different art forms to a superior state that still today we know with the term Vasari coined: the Renaissance.¹ It’s not hard to see here the beginnings of a way of writing history –and therefore of understanding the very tradition of architecture– through the so-called ‘masters,’ that is, characters that with their oeuvre set the range of possibilities within an institutionalized system of knowledge that we commonly refer to as discipline.

Until not long ago the notion of ‘exception’ in architecture was based on this logic: exceptional characters capable of producing ‘extraordinary’ works and whose exceptional quality was transmitted through publications, research, awards, exhibitions and other institutionally accepted media.

This was the case until the end of the 1990s when Giorgio Agamben reintroduced the idea of the ‘State of Exception’ that Carl Schmitt had proposed in 1922.² By indicating that the concentration camp was the archetype that best represented this notion, Agamben established an architectural image of the state of exception, locating it and defining an order for this concept.³ Since then architects have started to question the nature of these spaces. In this time we have also become aware that, as neutral as a thought behind a project may be, their effects are always political. The exception, as Agamben clearly states, “is a type of exclusion,”⁴ showing that the political condition was implicit in architecture even since Vasari established a gap between the masters and ordinary people.

Conscious of this lineage, in this issue of arq we have decided not to take on Vasari’s character-based approach. Instead we wanted to inquire into what exception means for architecture if we were to expand the imaginary that Agamben proposed. Although we deal with the contemporary case of refugee camps in Turkey, we are aware that there are also other forms of exception that affect or involve architecture. Examples of these are zones of economic exception in different parts of the world; exceptional historic moments that impact architecture (in the trilogy of texts about the remodeling of San Borja, the building for the UNCTAD III, and Ritoque); urban spaces of exception such as the gentlemen’s club; or machines for generating exceptions like the architecture competitions. The projects selected in this issue also reflect these exceptional conditions, whether in the case of the Alameda in Santiago (a truly exceptional commission), the Centro Nave in Western Santiago, the Praça das Artes in São Paulo, the House of One in Berlin, The Wave in Valparaíso, or even the way in which a courtyard in Princeton is transformed into a space of exception by a fence.

This issue number 92 of ARQ is also exceptional because it is presented in a new format –smaller but thicker– replacing that which the magazine had maintained since issue number 30, published in 1995. On that occasion Montserrat Palmer, former editor and one of the founders of arq along with Alex Moreno, explained the change of format by indicating that the goal of the magazine was to influence the “qualitative development of architecture in Chile.”5 Twenty one years later, once the magazine has consolidated such influence, we think that ARQ can aim for something bigger: not only to maintain from Chile a dialogue of peers with the main ideas, themes and proposals of contemporary architecture, but also to expand this conversation to other actors in the public sphere.

The previous format was subject to specific conditions for reading that are difficult to find nowadays (a cleared, large table, as if for reading architecture plans). This new format allows for an easier, every day use. A magazine that can be left on the bedside table along with other books that are being read, or that can easily be carried in a bag, as its size is similar to that of a laptop. Because although this issue is about exceptions, we refuse the idea that its reading might require exceptional conditions. Instead we want the magazine to be read anywhere, under normal circumstances. We hope that you, our readers, will prove this possible.


1. VASARI, Giorgio (1511-1574). Lives of the artists; biographies of the most eminent architects, painters, and sculptors of Italy. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1946). Original in Italian, 1550.
2. SCHMITT, Carl (1888-1985). Political theology: four chapters on the concept of sovereignty. (Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 1985).
3. HARDT, Michael; NEGRI, Antonio. Commonwealth (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009), 250.
4. Ibíd, 18.
5. PALMER, Montserrat , «Editorial». ARQ 30 (Agosto, 1995), 3.