RECOVERING VALPARAÍSO'S URBAN ELEVATORS: THE RESTORATION OF THE CORDILLERA FUNICULAR
Keywords: World Heritage, Valparaíso, Elevators, Restoration, Materials, Building system
Abstract. During the 19th century, the port of Valparaíso was the place in Chile with the closest links to the rest of the world, leading to strong social, cultural and technological transformations in the city. The arrival of the industrial revolution together with foreign influence led to the apparition of machinism; which along with the need to connect the lower area of the city with the hills led to the construction of several urban elevators. More than thirty elevators functioned throughout Valparaíso during the 20th century, out of which less than a half remained operational at the beginning of the 21st century. In order to recover this valuable heritage in a city which was declared World Heritage in 2003 by UNESCO, the Ministry of Public Works of Chile promoted a plan to restore nine urban elevators in Valparaíso. This article refers specifically to the restoration works of the second elevator ever built in the city: the Cordillera funicular, which opened in 1887. The complexities linked to the recovery of an obsolete technological system for contemporary public transport standards will be exposed; along with relevant discoveries linked to the history of Valparaíso, such as the archaeological finding of the ruins of the San José Castle during building works.