Vista Alegre Park, or `Finca Simeón´, was once a private garden, as shown by its sturdy outer wall, the statues guarding the way, its trees (palm trees, orange trees, apple trees, camellias, monkey puzzle trees, etc, some of which are more than a hundred years old), its pavilion and other shady corners in which to sit and rest.
This property, which belonged to an important family of city bankers (the Simeón family), now houses, apart from a colonial-style mansion from the early 20th century (rehabilitated by the prize-winning architect César Portela as a select university residence called `Casa de Europe´), according to the project of the world-famous Arata Isozaki, the University of Santiago’s Advanced Studies Institute and the School of High Music Studies.
The School of High Musical Studies, designed by Antón García Abril and completed in 2001, is a giant cube of large, rough pieces of granite; its design was greatly influenced by the music school´s acoustic requirements. The huge mass of stone is set in landscaped grounds, almost without touching them, giving the impression that it is floating on top of the gently rolling landscape. The interior, dominated by an empty space reaching from top to bottom and connecting the different areas, is bathed by daylight entering a skylight in its flat roof.