Cutting-edge architecture meets pristine wilderness in Chile

Confronted with the challenges of remoteness, wild weather and flooding, a glacial water bottling plant responds with a stunning piece of modern design. 

It’s not everyday that a great piece of modern architecture is constructed in the wild and remote places of the world – but then, Chilean Patagonia is not an ordinary kind of place.
And hidden away among the temperate rainforest of southern Chile, on the border of the Queulat National Park and three hours away from nearest city of Coihaique, architectural firm Panorama may have achieved just that.
The building in question is a glacial water bottling plant, but far from the typical factory, this plant is a sleek and very cool reflection of the best of modern architecture.
Rugged terrain, flooding, and extreme remoteness all posed serious challenges to the plant’s design, but the architects responded by not only overcoming these hurdles, but embracing them.
And the whole thing was built in just four months.
Seasonal winter floods from the nearby river were one of the first issues for the Panorama team to overcome – and they did so by building a 4 foot 11 inch (1.5 mt) tapered base on which the building sits, surrounded by aquatic plants and ferns.
Meanwhile the wind, rain and wild weather are kept out by thick toughened glass with an opaque black coating that not only keeps the elements at bay, but paints the building a myriad of verdant green hues in reflection of the surrounding rainforest.
Best of all, the building does not try to dominate wilderness, and is contained in a 60 by 60 foot area (18 x 18 mt), the smallest footprint achievable.
The result: not only does an ultra-modern building not look out-of-place in an ancient rainforest, it blends in masterfully, capturing the movement and color of its surrounds.
Inside the building, however, the walls are contrasted sharply with the clinical white facilities of the plant with splashes of vibrant yellow paint and polished timber floorboards.
For more photos of the building, check out the Panorama website.