Chile’s extreme south sees a sustainable design boom
Leading designers create unique structures in harmony with Patagonian landscapes.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Chile’s wild Patagonia is seeing an increasing number of design-savvy hotels and camps. Photo by Tierra Patagonia.
Vast pristine glaciers, towering massifs and unique wildlife are among the many reasons Chilean Patagonia continues to draw intrepid visitors from across the world. Now, the region is undergoing a subtle, but unique re-invention. While it remains as wild as ever, innovative new design projects are bringing architecture — and a little luxury — to Patagonia.
Highlighting this trend, Departures magazine selected a few of the stand-out, design-savvy resorts and camps that are putting a new twist on the traditional Patagonia experience. One key thread runs through all the distinct developments: a reverence for the nature that surrounds them.
Sandwiched between soaring granite towers of near-impossible dimensions and the emerald-green Sarmiento Lake, Tierra Patagonia Hotel and Spa would be a winning destination regardless, but with a range of activities available, not to mention the intuitive design, it merits special mention.
Departures describes the process that went into this unique structure.
“Cazu Zegers, one of three prominent Santiago-based architects who designed the hotel, took inspiration from the winds by integrating the undulating wood-and-glass hotel into a long bank of low-rising hills,” Departures explained. “Zegers clad the exterior and interiors in local Lenga wood from a sustainably planted forest.”
Inspired by the domed huts typical of the region’s nomadic Kawésqar people, the Ecocamp’s luxury waterproof, wind-resistant structures provide a welcome relief to those hoping to avoid the harsh realities of traditional camping in Patagonia.
The suite and loft domes are designed to let you gaze out at the soaring peaks and myriad stars from the comfort of the structure, while wooden walkways between the camps help reduce the environmental footprint.
The Singular Patagonia
The product of a decade of work, much of it overseen by acclaimed Chilean designer Enrique Concha, The Singular Patagonia has managed to establish itself into one of the most remarkable places to stay in the region. From an unpromising beginning, the site was a former cold-storage and sheep-processing plant, the team behind The Singular Patagonia have managed to transform the site into a 57-room resort and spa with a unique industrial style.