ALMA Residencia Construction to Start

16 January, 2015

The construction contract to build the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Residencia has been 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 that have experience in constructing residential-type buildings in the challenging environment of the north of Chile.

The ALMA Residencia will be the new home for staff and visitors to the facility. The shape of the buildings and the color of the exteriors of this major architectural project have been designed to meld with the topography, the environment and the landscape of the ALMA site. The design was undertaken by the Finnish architects Kuovo & Partanen and was then adapted to the Chilean market by Rigotti & Simunovic Arquitectos, a Chilean firm of architects.

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The ALMA Residencia will be the new home for staff and visitors to the facility. The shape of the buildings and the colour of the exteriors of this major architectural project have been designed to meld with the topography, the environment and the landscape of the ALMA site. The design was undertaken by the Finnish architects Kuovo & Partanen and was then adapted to the Chilean market by Rigotti & Simunovic Arquitectos, a Chilean firm of architects. Credit: ESO/Rigotti + Simunovic Arquitectos

Ever since the construction of ALMA began in 2008, with the delivery of ALMA’s first antenna, staff and visitors have lived and stayed in temporary containers in the base camp at the Operations Support Facility (OSF), the focal point of all antenna Assembly Integration Verification (AIV) activities. Located at 2900 meters above sea level, the OSF site is about 15 kilometers from the nearest public road and the closest town is San Pedro de Atacama.

The construction of the ALMA array has taken priority up to now and the Residencia at the OSF is the last outstanding major contract.

The work specified in the contract will begin in early 2015 and is expected to take 18 months. Given the harsh desert environment, remote location and shift work (both day and night) for the ALMA staff, the Residencia was designed to provide a pleasant on-site environment for staff and visitors who come from as many as 20 countries worldwide.

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Credit: ESO/Rigotti + Simunovic Arquitectos

The Residencia has two main zones: common areas and dormitory areas. The design uses a modular concept so that more accommodation can 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 the same time.

More information 

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

Contact:

Valeria Foncea 
Education and Public Outreach Officer
Joint ALMA Observatory
Santiago, Chile
Tel: +56 2 467 6258
Cell: +56 9 75871963
Email: vfoncea@alma.cl 

Wolfgang Wild
ESO ALMA Programme Manager
Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6716
Email: wwild@eso.org

Fabio Biancat Marchet
ESO Head of Project Management Dept.
Santiago, Chile
Tel: +56 2 463 3088
Email: fmarchet@eso.org

Claudio Cabrera
ESO Site IPT Lead
Santiago, Chile
Tel: + 56 2 2463 3088
E-mail: ccabrera@eso.org

Richard Hook 
Public Information Officer, ESO
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
Email: rhook@eso.org

Charles E. Blue
Public Information Officer
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Tel: +1 434 296 0314
Cell: +1 434.242.9559
E-mail: cblue@nrao.edu 

Masaaki Hiramatsu 
Education and Public Outreach Officer, NAOJ Chile
Observatory Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81 422 34 3630
E-mail: hiramatsu.masaaki@nao.ac.jp