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Luciano Kulczewski García (January 8, 1896 – September 19, 1972) was a prominent Chilean architect of the 20th century of Polish-French descent.
The Kulczewski family settled new Warsaw, Poland in the 17th century. His grand grand father Maciej, fought in November Uprising against Russia in 1830, in which his older son, Maciej as well, died; the second son Antoni, (b.1806; d.1859)in Jeziorka, near Warsaw, left Poland during the November Uprising in 1830, for France, where he studied road and bridge engineering. In 1831 was awarded the gold medal of Caveliers Virtuti Militari for his valour, and participated as a member of the Foreign Legion in the pacification of Algeria. In 1839 was awarded the permanent residency of France for the service to his chosen homeland.
In 1849, the architect's father Boleslaw was born in Algeria; he studied civil engineering and mining in Paris, and came to Chile in 1872 to work as a coal mining engineer in Lota, and later he worked and was the co-founder of the Administration of Public Works; he married Luisa García Rodríguez, in Temuco (proceeding from the prominent southern family); in 1896 the second son Luciano was born in the family; the first son Raul (b. 1890), the military officer, also studied architecture at the Universidad de Chile.
Childhood and education
In childhood Luciano loved to draw and design. Outstanding student of the University of Chile Department of Architecture (see: the second University's rector - Ignacy Domeyko, 1865-1881), received three golden medals for his projects (which were exhibited in Museo de Bellas Artes in Santiago). His first work dates from 1916 (while a student; it is a house in Ave. Augustinas No. 1854, Santiago).
Admired for his flamboyant and creative designs by his clients and experts alike, continues attracting admirers and following among many architects. For him the architecture was a tool to be of service in creating quality of life and happiness for men. His works are characterized by an eclectic mix of influences from the Gothic Revival architecture, Art Nouveau, and later in his career from the emerging Modern movement, which he incorporated in his increasingly socially conscious work after 1939.
Some of his best known projects are:
- Rail train station (funicular - 1924), Cerro San Cristóbal, Santiago (Historical Monument)
- His private house “Casa de los Torreones” (1924), Ave. Estados Unidos No. 201, Santiago
- Swimming pool building (1929), Santa Maria Ave No. 983, Santiago
- Headquarters of the College of Architects of Chile (1922, org. built as Residencia M. Figueroa) Ave. L. Bernardo O'Higgins N ° 215, Santiago (Historical Monument 2011)
- Apartment building, “Edificio de la Gargola” (1928), Ave. Merced No. 268, Santiago
- Apartment building (1928), Ave. Merced No. 84, Santiago
Critical of mercantilism in architectural practice, with time became interested in ideas of socialism, and was one of the co-founders of the Socialist Party (as a manager of the presidential campaign of Pedro Aguirre Cerda). Yearning for more dignified forms of housing for Chileans, concentrated on designing and building residential complex subdivisions for the lower and middle class owners:
- Keller subdivisión (1925), Comuna de Providencia, Santiago (Zona Tipica).
- Calle Madrid subdivisión (1927), Santiago
- Los Castaños subdivisión (1930), Comuna Independencia, Santiago (Zona Tipica).
- Virginia Opazo subdivisión (1941)(Ex-subdivisión Quinta Meiggs), Santiago.
- Población Militar "Leopoldo Urrutía" (1929), Comuna de Ñuñoa, Santiago. (Zona Típica)
In the "modernist" period of his career he created (with Aquiles Zanelli) even more populist in idea and design, apartment building complexes, so called "Los Colectivos", in:
- Arica, Iquique, Tocopilla, Antofagasta (1940-1943)
- Valparaiso (Colectivo de Portales)
Unfortunately, several of his works have been demolished; presently, thanks to widen awareness and popular appreciation of his designs, there is a movement by the professionals and public to include all his existing projects under the protection of the Council of Historical Monuments of Chile (CMN de Chile).
After his death, Kulczewski’s ashes were spread over the cemetery Père-Lachaise, Paris and San Cristóbal Hill in Santiago by his son Jaime(architect) and daughter Mirella(former Miss Chile, living in Santiago).es:Luciano Kulczewski
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