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Hotel Remota, Patagonia
Puerto Natales, Puerto Natales, Chile
Germán del Sol, Architects

Germán del Sol captures the folk spirit and isolation of Patagonia, with architecture that envelops both guests and the landscape.

 
 
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Photo © Guy Wemborne, Felipe Camus

By Russell Fortmeyer

The Hotel Remota is for people who like their lattes made over a campfire. In a rugged and remote Patagonian landscape, outside Puerto Natales, Chile, the hotel beckons adventurous travelers with equal parts luxury and local folk style.

Germán del Sol, the Santiago-based architect behind Remota, has inadvertently cornered the market on luxe hotels in far-flung Chilean locales. His Hotel Explora in Atacama San Pedro and its earlier sister property in Patagonia offer urbane accommodations in a region better known for sheep barns and rustic lodgings for visitors who prefer sleeping bags to down comforters.

The 72-room hotel lies at the base of the Patagonian Mountains on a sea channel 125 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Much of the construction material arrived on-site by boat. Remota’s 56,000-square-foot complex includes a dining room, bar, and spa. A Santiago family of recreational sailors and outdoorsmen, who also happen to have backgrounds in construction and engineering, developed the hotel. Del Sol’s understanding of the area, backed by the four years he spent in the early 1990s trekking the nearby Torres del Paine National Park and environs, helped convince the client to build his formally unconventional, jagged design.

Part of Remota’s appeal lies in its deferential attitude to the surroundings. Whereas Frank Gehry’s Riscal Winery, in Spain, redefines the terrain, the low horizontal forms of Remota’s totally precast-concrete buildings, like lightning bolts across the ground, frame the landscape. Here, del Sol’s exterior vibrates with tall, off-kilter window frames set in wrapped plywood infill panels, an effect the architect likens to both jazz musician Keith Jarrett’s improvisational techniques and vernacular building methods that lack the precision of professional designs.

Remota’s plan opens up like an interior landscape. Guests thread through a V-shaped public building to extensive understated corridors connecting to the guest-room wings and spa. Outside, the stark superblocks embrace an irregular field of erratic boulders, brought in from the mountains, conveying the powerful sense of emptiness del Sol finds in the vast peaks beyond. Furthering the landscape conceit, the existing grass, removed to allow for the building footprints, now covers the roofs in a 24-inch insulating layer.

The interiors combine the architect’s version of luxurious Minimalism with the faint utilitarian ambience of Patagonian barns. As with those buildings, a single group of carpenters built the hotel and its furniture. Cubic sofas and tables of Lenga wood (harvested locally) populate the native slate floors, with patches of color appearing as sparingly as in the surrounding terrain.

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Formal name of project:
Hotel Remota, Patagonia

Location:
Km. 1,5 Camino de Puerto Natales a Puerto Bories,
Puerto Natales, Patagonia, Chile

Gross square footage:
10,500 square foot

Total Construction Cost:
$10 million

Owner:
Daniel y Juan Pablo González Correa
Inmobiliaria Fiordos del Sur

Architect:
Germán del Sol, Architects
Camino las flores 11441, Las condes,
Santiago, Chile
www.germandelsol.cl/
Contact Phone 56-2-214 12 14
Fax Number    56-2-214 11 47


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