Written By: Adriana Onate
Architect: Smiljan Radic
Location: Libertad 410, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile (GPS:  40.741895,-73.989308)
Year Completed: 2015

NAVE is an adaptive reuse project in which an old patrimonial house from the 20th century is recovered and restored by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic.  The original housing structure was destroyed after a fire in 2006 and the earthquake of 2010, leaving only the façade standing.  The restored façade remains the only artifact from the original housing structure.

NAVE, an experimental performing arts space, stands white and pristine in the center of the Yungay neighborhood of Santiago, Chile.  The surrounding neighborhood is one of the most culturally active areas in the metropolitan area, providing the perfect backdrop for a project such as NAVE.

The program of NAVE is versatile and unique, featuring two main performance spaces to house rehearsals and performance exhibitions, housing and communcal spaces for artists-in-residence, and a tented rooftop terrace with views looking out towards the Andes Mountains.  The spaces are designed to have connection and flow between each other, allowing a great level of connectivity and circulation.  This level of connectivity allows the artists-in-residence access to all spaces and the freedom to circulate, even when the building is in off hours.

Materials used in the interior design of NAVE are simple with bold accents of color dotting the experience of different spaces.  Utilizing a small material palette of mostly raw cut wood and concrete, the interior places focus on the materials themselves and not the final product, a philosophy that reflects NAVE’s goals and intentions to focus on the creative process.

The rooftop terrace is an exciting element of NAVE, as is the walk up the stairs to access it.  A glowing yellow light intrigues and draws visitors upwards and out.  Once outside, a playful red and yellow circus-style tent covers the majority of the rooftop space.  The rooftop has been utilized for public events in the past such as barbeques, neighborhood bingo, dancing, and performances.

Although NAVE is a private project, the performance space aims to respond to the neighborhood surrounding it.  It invites and encourages a strong sense of community while contributing to local arts culture in Santiago.

Visit the NAVE website at

Floor plans (source:

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