"Atacama" European Southern Observatory, Chile
Atacama and Toconao Desert , Chile
European Southern Observatory
José Soares, Arquitecto Lda.
22464,00 m 2
The rigorous environment conditions of a place such as San Pedro de Atacama – intensive solar radiation, strong winds of different densities and quadrants, relatively low humidity in comparison with the air, lack of vegetation and the occurrence of daily great thermal amplitudes, in parallel with the vast natural and morphological essentiality, factors that contributed to the definition of the options for the solution of the Operation Support Facility (OSM),
The proposal consisted in a building with only one floor, implemented in various platforms in the terrain, accompanying the topography of the slope. Due to its peculiar location, the conceptual modularity and simplicity of the buildings and due to cost control; a concrete structure was adopted with the use of pre-cast elements, except for the Hangar Building that was structured in metal due to its larger span dimension, and its elevated height (25m).
The envisioned solution for the supply and drainage of water endowed the OSM installation of all the phases of the process of water for human consumption, namely for the caption, reservation and treatment, distribution and evacuation of the sewers with the treatment station as its destination. The devolution of this water to its natural environment will have the necessary conditions to join the rest of the pluvial water, without any negative environmental impact.
The execution of two zones for fuel supply was also part of the solution, and due to the high thermal amplitude, the installations have to be buried. For this effect, the reservoirs would be involved in a concrete box in order to avoid the propagation of eventual leaks that might occur.