ALMA Residencia

The ALMA Residencia will be the home for staff of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). It is sited at the ALMA Operations Support Facility, close to San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile.

Construction work officially began on 23 February 2015 and is expected to last 17 months. The live webcam images below show the ongoing work in real time.

ALMA Residencia

The shape of the buildings and the color of the exteriors of this major architectural project have been designed to meld with the surrounding environment of the ALMA site. The design for the building was undertaken by the Finnish architects Kouvo & Partanen and was then adapted to the Chilean market by Rigotti & Simunovic Arquitectos, a Chilean architecture firm. Given the harsh desert environment, remote location and shift work (both day and night) for the ALMA staff, the Residencia has been designed to provide a relaxing and pleasant on-site environment for staff, who come from as many as 20 countries worldwide.

ALMA Residencia: General View of the Array of Buildings

ALMA Residencia: General View of the Array of Buildings | Download image

ALMA Residencia: Interior View Access Hall & Lounge, 1st Floor Main Buildings

ALMA Residencia: Interior View Access Hall & Lounge, 1st Floor Main Buildings | Download image

ALMA Residencia: Interior Yard View, between Dormitory Buildings

ALMA Residencia: Interior Yard View, between Dormitory Buildings | Download image

The Residencia has two main zones: common areas and dormitory areas. The design is modular, allowing additional accommodation to be added if necessary. Initially there will be 120 rooms extending across six buildings. The common areas include leisure facilities such as a library, cafeteria, lounge, spa with gym, swimming pool, sauna, and barbecue area. A kitchen and dining room will also be provided, with enough space to accommodate half of the residents at any one time.

The construction contract to build the ALMA Residencia was awarded to the consortium L y D–Axis, consisting of Constructora L y D S.A. and Axis Desarrollos Constructivos S.A. Both are Chilean companies with experience in constructing residential buildings in the challenging environment of northern Chile.