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VISITOR CENTER. Cerro Paine Ranch (Magallanes, Chile) Project name: Visitor Center, Cerro Paine Ranch Location: Torres del Paine, Magallanes Region, Chile Architect: Enrique Browne Associate Architect: Olimpia Lira Collaborator Architect: Tadea Ipiña, Danilo Marini Project Area: 2.055 sqm Site Area: 14.985 sqm Materials: Stone, Lenga wood, Concrete and Glass Structural Project: Valladares, Pagliotti & Asociados Renders: Danilo Marini Date: 2012 It was decided to build a Mining Center in the great Campus San Joaquin of the Catholic University of Chile. The site faces the wide Vicuña Mackenna Avenue where the elevated metro systems runs through. The initial assignment considered a volume of 6 floors with classrooms, professor rooms, auditorium and a small mining museum. We designed a type of constructed “rock” (option 1). However, the solution seemed insignificant given the large size of the avenue, the powerful presence of the elevated Metro station and the tall neighbouring buildings. We thus proposed another option: that the programme filter through the annexed buildings below ground level. As such, the areas above the buildings were given to the students as green spaces. Along the length there was a “crack” providing light and air to the programme. This proposal was attractive given that it increased the green areas, which is exactly the issue that has humanized and given coherence to the campus. Additionally, the green cover offered approximately 25% in energy savings. This option creates a “T”, leaving visible only a copper cylinder that serves as an access and visual reference of the complex. The Center also incorporates other items of energy efficiency. The offices and classrooms walls, which are next to the earth, generate a thermal ambience of high standards, with low cooling and heating energy demands.