In February 2012, six years after construction began on the grand tower of the Costanera Center in Santiago, the super-structure officially became the tallest building in South America, with the crowning of a five-ton steel frame at its summit.
Still under construction, the 984-foot (300 m), 63-story behemoth dominates the Chilean capital’s skyline – already one of the continent’s most imposing, with the Titanium La Portada building, now the fifth tallest in South America.
“The sheer height of the building provided a formidable challenge,” said Salfa Engineering and Construction General Manager, Fernando Zuñiga. “It’s not an uncommon undertaking in Chile, rather it has been ‘a first,’ and we are very proud.”
The building is part of a complex which also includes three additional towers, two of which will become the third and fourth largest buildings in the country. Proposed occupants include two hypermarkets, a six-story mall of more than 300 retail stores, and a four-star and five-star hotel.
The “grand tower” itself will be given over to office spaces, ranging from 1,076 square feet (100 m2) to 21,530 square feet (2,000 m2), with maximum international security and infrastructure standards, including thermo-panels and anti-UV, anti-impact windows.
At 351,459 square feet (107,125 m2), the block was designed by Chilean architects Alemparte, Barreda & Associates in collaboration with Pelli Architects – the firm responsible for the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur, which were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004.
The Costanera Center is located in the heart of Santiago’s financial district, known as “Sanhattan” for its array of steel and glass office buildings, in which new office towers seem to spring up daily.
And while the capital’s skyline looks set to continue its upward march, anyone who’s been to Santiago will tell you: the man-made structures will always be dwarfed by the Andes mountain range, which looms large over the city.
The Costanera grand tower is expected to open in April 2013.