Alchemic Acropolis by Jim Chen and Adrienne Kartachack

Many places are charged; charged with religious energy, charged with cultural importance, charged with the need to service the public. In the heart of downtown Quito, Ecuador lies a hill that is burdened with all of this energy complete with a statue of an angel facing north and dividing the rich north from the poor south -- those blessed by the watchful eye of the angel from those that only see her back. This location is also of systemic importance. The hill sits as a lump in the middle of the long skinny Quito valley, where winds move north to south, moving up over skyscrapers and dropping down at the foot of the hill, creating the most ideal conditions for water vapor condensation. This historic “elbow” of the city was reimagined with social and systemic alchemy. The water collected from the air to feed the aquifer below creates democratic space to celebrate the individual in the monumental. The mountain is painted with Arupo trees that bloom boldly at the start of the rainy season, giving the city a visual thermometer of abundance to come and framing the condensation acropolis that rests above.

Fall 2019 Design Excellence Award Winner

Jim Chen + Adrienne Kartachack
Advanced Studio
Instructors: Hope Hasbrouck and David Heymann