The Railway Museum Pablo Neruda is located on the Roundhouse of Temuco, built between 1929 and 1941 in two phases, to repair facilities for steam locomotives that run over the first half of the 20th Century in Chile. In the ’80s, the whole Railway system suffered a decay that drifts on the building's abandonment.
Temuco Municipality rescued the building, still damaged because of the weather conditions and the constant earthquakes, and turned it into the Railway Museum. The Building and its locomotives were declared National Monument, and then a considerable period of repairing began. The 2010 earthquake nearly destroyed the structure. In that year, the government started a complete restoration Project under a Heritage program. The aim was to turn the building into a huge cultural center.
The Roundhouse is a circular building with a diameter of 100 meters and a turning table with a diameter of 27 meters. This action allows accommodating 34 locomotives under the structure.
The challenge was to restore the old concrete structure and cover the central space for cultural and musical activities. The structure system consists of a metallic dome covered with two layers of PVC. It presents considerable advantages in weight and natural lighting and also acts as a thermal protector. The heritage rescue process includes a detailed damage analysis and repairing project, using carbon fiber and metal reinforcing.
It was also adding eight big concrete walls that protect the structure from future events. Original brick walls damaged by the earthquake were replaced with panels as the big front doors designated as access for visitors and machines. The rusted corten steel is used as a material that evokes the memories of the past and the oblivion of the Golden times of the Railway in Chile.