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Ramón Alfonso Méndez Brignardello

(b Santiago, 1829; d Valparaíso, 1890).

Chilean architect. His father was unknown and his mother a humble laundress who made great efforts in order to educate her son. He began working for a cabinetmaker at the age of 13 and then joined a drawing class for craftsmen at the Instituto Nacional, Santiago. There were few professional architects in Chile at that time, and he was commissioned at the age of 18 to design the Casa de Orates building. Vivaceta Rupio joined the first architecture class of the Frenchman Claude François Brunet-Debaines (1788–1855), who had been contracted by the Chilean government. His fellow pupil Ricardo Brown and he were the first architects to be trained in Chile. As a result of his assiduity and determination, he was selected by Brunet-Debaines to complete outstanding works when the contract expired. Working in the 19th-century Neo-classical tradition, with some gestures towards the neo-Gothic, Vivaceta Rupio rebuilt the towers of several Santiago churches and built several private houses and the church and convent of Carmen Alto. He contributed to repairs to the cathedral of Santiago and collaborated with ...