Spanish architecture studio PRÁCTICA and Rodrigo Pérez de Arce have released designs for their proposal of the Punta Arenas International Antarctic Center in Chile. The proposal was one of the contenders in the design competition for the building, which plans to become the Antarctic’s point of entry for the world.
The proposal is programmed under a linear series of barrel vaults, which leave room for it to expand as the center grows. The distinctive roofing will illuminate at night, with a skyline that establishes itself and Chile’s identity as a gateway for the white continent. Read on for the architects’ project description below:
Conceived as a shelter in allusion to typical polar installations, the International Antarctic Center is organized under 16 barrel vaults that face the Strait. Both at night and daytime, the building’s skyline is easily recognizable when approaching the airport. Due to the translucent membranes that cover their roofline, the vaults are perceived as a row of lanterns or sea buoys tied to the waterfront. Its linear distribution ensures capability of growth and adaptation in time.
The proposal’s spatial organisation is ruled by a dual system: at the bottom a group of boxes – a socle distributed in one, two or three levels built in concrete structure and movable partitions that hosts those uses with the most restrictive climatic and lighting conditions – are covered by the set of metal-structured vaults enclosed by translucent glass paneling that performs as passive temperature regulators. The proposal, therefore, understands the vaults as a set of structurally and climatically efficient elements that offer an iconic image for such an emblematic program in the region.
This dual mechanism enables passive conditioning of the interior of the building by means of greenhouse effect (carrying considerable energetic and economic savings), as well as filtering of natural light, insulation during the winter and cross-ventilation in the summer. The spaces under the vaults maintain medium temperatures throughout the year, ideal for informal activities, while the museum program relies on under-floor heating. The inside of the socle boxes, which host more specific uses, is calibrated by central heating, and its ventilation is driven through the vaulted spaces in the summer. All rooms enjoy natural lighting, which is regulated through the triple-layered roofing system.
The overall scheme is designed to ensure the temporal viability of the proposal, as well as flexibility for its interiors, where movable partitions enable the adaptation of the spaces to ever-changing requirements. The building works as a new interactive quarter for the city Punta Arenas, with houses and monuments, all protected under one big roof.
News via: PRÁCTICA.
LocationPunta Arenas, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile
Architect in ChargePRÁCTICA and Rodrigo Pérez de Arce
Design TeamJaime Daroca, José Mayoral, José Ramón Sierra and Rodrigo Pérez de Arce
CollaboratorsSebastián Marchant, Cinthya Orellana and Raúl Brito
Structural EngineerRodríguez y Goldsack (Arturo Goldsack)
Energetic efficiencyJavier del Río Ojeda
Organizing institutionDirección de Arquitectura, Ministerio de Obras Públicas, Gobierno de Chile
PhotographsCourtesy of PRÁCTICA
Energetic EfficiencyJavier del Río Ojeda
A team led by Alberto Moletto, Cristóbal Tirado, Sebastián Hernández and Danilo Lagos has been selected as the winners of the Punta Arenas International Antarctic Center (CAI) design competition. The ambitious state-owned project sought to create a "distinctive and iconic infrastructure that is necessary to consolidate the position of Chile as an Antarctic country and Punta Arenas as the main gateway city to West Antarctica."
A competition for the innovative design of public housing in Malaga has been won by Spanish firms PRÁCTICA and Daroca Arquitectos, whose proposal offers a new housing typology based on energy efficiency, sustainability, and urbanization from a human and ecological perspective.