International architectural competition year 2011, completed in 2017
Client: the European Southern Observatory (ESO)
Authorship: Kouvo & Partanen Architectural Office
Collaborator and local adaptions in Chile: Rigotti+Simunovic Arquitectos
Gross floor area: 6,600 sqm
ALMA is the largest ground-based astronomical project in existence. It is operated by a global partnership between The European Southern Observatory (ESO) with partners from North America, East Asia and Chile. The operation site of the observatory is located on the Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes at an altitude of 5000 meters. ALMA telescope consists of 66 radio antennas at one of the highest altitudes in the world.
The ALMA Residencia is located in the Research Centre at the altitude of 2900 meters and comprises of dormitories providing 120 accommodation rooms for astronomers and staff from 20 countries, and of the main building that locates common rooms such as restaurants, offices and recreational areas. The building is designed as a curving terraced structure following the natural slope of the landscape and forming sheltered inner courtyards. The roof of the main building is an inclined landscaped terrace, highest point being a recreational observation plateau. The complex has been integrated into the surrounding landscape by means of scale and local materials and colors. The main features of the scenery are the vibrant colors and sweeping horizontal views of the red Atacama Desert, the snowcapped Andean mountains and volcanos, and the Salar of Atacama salt lake and Cordillera de Domeyko Mountains in the west.