Chile’s Regional Government has chosen New York-based Ennead Architects and local architects Cristian Sanhuerza and Cristian Ostertag to design a research center near Cape Horn, the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile.
The purpose of the Cape Horn Sub-Antarctic Research Center will be to promote study and ecological tourism in this ecologically diverse, albeit remote and sparsely populated, region, which includes a temperate rainforest. “It’s about as far south as you can get without going to Antarctica,” says Richard Olcott, a Principal at Ennead, reports Dezeen.
The site where the research center will be built is within the UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve in Puerto Williams.
The research facility is a collaborative venture among the University of Magallanes, the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, the Omoro Foundation in Chile, and the University of North Texas. The center will house the Biocultural Research and Conservation Program led by Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, a native Chilean who is a professor at North Texas.
Ennead’s recent commercial projects include the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City, the Standard Hotel near New York City’s High Line, and the renovation and expansion of Yale’s Art Gallery.
The research center’s exterior will be constructed with maintenance-free Corten steel that forms a self-sealing layer of rust around the structure. The interior’s auditorium will be wrapped in wood, which Olcott suggests would be a bit like the inside of a boat.
Ennead says there will be three programs at the center: education, sustainable tourism, and subantarctic transdisciplinary research, each with its own pavilion. The center will also include a lecture hall and café, exhibition space, and apartments for visiting researchers.
The project should be completed by 2017.