Palacio Carrasco (Centro Cultural Viña del Mar)
In 1912, nine years after buying a full block of land fronting on Avenida Libertad, nitrate magnate Emilio Carrasco Alliende hired Palacio Rioja designer Alfred Azancot to build this two-story structure, whose facade features a portico with three Norman arches, topped by a mansard roof.
Carrasco died in 1923, before actually moving in, and the following year his heirs sold the building. In 1930, Viña mayor Manuel Ossa Sainete acquired it for the city and it served as city hall until 1971, despite 1965 quake damage. After further quake damage in 1971, it was condemned in 1975, but somehow escaped demolition; since 1977, this national historical monument has housed the Centro Cultural de Viña del Mar. The grounds include Rodin’s sculpture La Defensa, supposedly rejected in a competition for Valparaíso’s Plaza de los Héroes de Iquique.
The Centro Cultural Viña del Mar (Av. Libertad 250, tel. 0322/269721) hosts exhibitions of painting and sculpture. It’s open 9 a.m.–7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free except for special summer exhibitions, when there’s a modest charge.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition