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ALMA Residencia Handed Over
Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The new ALMA Residencia at the ALMA Operations Support Facility has just been handed over to the Joint ALMA Observatory. The celebration event was attended by the ALMA Board and the directors of the three executives — ESO, NAOJ and NRAO. The architects who designed the building were also present. The ALMA Residencia is the last major construction item to be delivered to the ALMA project by ESO.

The handover of the ALMA Residencia is a landmark in the development of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The new building will provide accommodation for ALMA staff and visitors at the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF), close to San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile, just 28 kilometers away from the telescope itself.

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. The construction contract for the ALMA Residencia was awarded to the consortium AXIS LyD Construcciones Ltda, consisting of Constructora L y D S.A. and Axis Desarrollos Constructivos S.A. Both are Chilean companies that already had extensive experience in constructing residential buildings in the challenging environment of northern Chile. Construction began officially on 23 February 2015.

ALMA Residencia Handed Over

The ALMA Residencia at the ALMA Operations Support Facility acts as accommodation for visitors and staff. The building was handed over to the Joint ALMA Observatory in April 2017. The celebration event was attended by the ALMA Board and the directors of the three executives — ESO, NAOJ and NRAO. The architects who designed the building were also present. The ALMA Residencia is the last major construction item to be delivered to the ALMA project by ESO. Credit: ESO/R. Warmels | Download image

The buildings have been designed so that the shape and color of the exterior of this major architectural project will blend with the topography, the environment and the landscape of the ALMA site. Given the harsh desert environment, remote location and pattern of shift working (both day and night) for the ALMA staff, the Residencia has been designed to provide a pleasant on-site environment for staff and visitors who come from numerous countries worldwide.

ALMA Residencia Handed Over

This picture shows a symbolic key to the building being handed to the ALMA Director, Pierre Cox (left) by ESO's Director General, Tim de Zeeuw (right). Credit: ESO/A. Kaufer | Download image

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. For now, there are 120 rooms extending across six buildings. The common areas feature impressive leisure facilities including a library, cafeteria, lounge, spa with gym, swimming pool, sauna and barbecue area. There is also a kitchen and an extensive dining room, with space to accommodate half of the residents in one sitting.

ALMA Residencia Handed Over

This picture shows the three Finnish architects from the company Kouvo & Partanen who designed the building (centre). They are flanked by the ALMA Director, Pierre Cox (left) and by ESO's Director General, Tim de Zeeuw (right). Credit: ESO/A. Kaufer | Download image

The OSF, the site of the Residencia, is 2000 meters lower than the telescope itself up on the Chajnantor Plateau. ALMA consists of an array of 66 high-precision radio antennas, of 12 meters and 7 meters diameter, working at millimetre and submillimeter wavelengths. The observatory began scientific observations at the end of September 2011 and studies the building blocks of stars, planetary systems, galaxies and life itself, letting astronomers address some of the deepest questions of our cosmic origins.

This time-lapse sequence shows the construction of the building in greatly speeded-up form. Credit: ESO / Music: Tim Turusov (www.turusov.com)

ALMA Residencia construction time-lapse. Credit: ESO. Music: Tim Turusov (www.turusov.com)



Additional information

ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ.

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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