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Hotel Refugia

A magical journey into the special world that is Hotel Refugia in Chiloé

Hotel Refugia, designed by mobile arquitectos is a hotel designed and built to be one more element of the natural landscape. Its simple, natural, first-class architecture is a harmonious combination of traditional Chiloé craftsmanship and modern design, employing fine woods with a cutting-edge vision that simply astonishes visitors. The construction mimics the natural environment, becoming a part of the landscape without altering it, and evoking the island’s solid and ancient culture.

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© Tali Santibanez, Daniel Corvillon

The Hotel Refugia, a 12-room hilltop hotel on the Chiloé archipelago in Chile, Opened on September 1 with all-inclusive accommodations from $530 per person per night. Its two stories and its strategic location will give you a panoramic view of the Chiloé sea and the nearby islands while you enjoy the hotel’s excellent services.

It has a restaurant, spa, reading room, and lounge, and an outdoor terrace overlooks the Corcovado Gulf and the Andean mountain chain. The all-inclusive lodge offers sailing, horseback riding, and excursions through the rain forest, to penguin colonies, and to the archipelago’s 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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© Tali Santibanez, Daniel Corvillon

A unique HOTEL of avant-garde geometric design, nestled in the magical landscape of Chiloé’s unblemished archipelago, offering exceptional service. The Refugia Hotel has 12 exclusive rooms, each with a sea view, a reading room, a cosy living room with fireplace, dining room and a terrace. The hotel also boasts a Spa with a modern Jacuzzi, dry sauna, steam room, and a massage room.

Every guest room and public space at the hotel is a subtle expression of the region’s cultural identity, taking the traveler on a dream journey through Chiloé’s rich cultural heritage, a voyage of unique sensorial experiences. An intimate space, a warm refuge in the midst of a rugged natural landscape where the force of the rain and wind, the deep green forests and the momentum of the sea dominate the geography of this remarkable island.

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© Tali Santibanez, Daniel Corvillon

Location & Hotel environment:

Refugia is located on the banks of the Rilán peninsula, some 18 kms from the city of Castro, on more than 10 hectares which harmonically combine countryside and beach: with green fields and forests bordering an arm of Chiloé’s inland sea. The hotel sits atop a hill at the edge of the sea, a pure and noble architectural gem respectfully inserted into, and yielding to, the natural landscape.

The hotel is surrounded by gentle green hills dotted with brightly colored wildflowers, hundreds of native trees and the Pullao wetland, where dozens of endemic birds and marine species can be observed in complete tranquility.

From all the bedrooms, living rooms and terraces, the immensity of the inland sea is on display, as well as the Rilán peninsula, part of its islands and the imposing Andes mountain chain, dominated by the Michimahuida and Corcovado volcanoes.

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© Tali Santibanez, Daniel Corvillon

The magic of Chiloé:

The Chiloé archipelago enchants visitors with its hospitality, traditional houses on stilts, steaming fish stews cooked in the ground and the mythical figure of the Thrauco. The Spanish conquerors were awed, so too the Jesuit missionaries and the various groups of European colonists who landed there. Today, Chiloé attracts national and foreign tourists who seek to immerse themselves in the island’s magical culture, where nature and tradition have been maintained over centuries.

Chiloé displays a unique architecture, with colonial-era wooden churches in Achao, Chonchi and Quinchao that have been declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO. This building technique was taught by the Spanish Jesuits during the conquest more than four centuries ago; the houses with larch shingles and the palafitos, typical constructions on stilts above the water, are not found anywhere else in the world.

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© Nico Saieh

Rivers, streams, lakes, lagoons, inlets and coves, beaches and canals have always defined the life and culture of the people of Chiloé, through fishing, harvesting shellfish and navigation.

Chiloé is known for its wickerwork, stone fireplaces and its warm clothing of hand-spun wool, dyed 100% naturally with plants and vegetables, following techniques passed down from generation to generation.

When it comes to food, Chiloé’s varied cuisine is presided by curanto, a stew of shellfish, fish, potato and meat, cooked in a hole in the ground covered with the leaves of the Chilean rhubarb. Also typical are the oysters of the Caulín oyster farm, the crabs of Quellón, the golden liquor of Conchi, the traditional pancakes milcao and chapalele, and apple cider.

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© Hotel Refugia

Chiloé’s irregular geography has created stunning landscapes: to the east, green hills and tranquil waters; and to the west, the immense and powerful Pacific Ocean which pounds the rocks of the coast. This is the scene of rich biodiversity which so impressed Charles Darwin in the 19th century, this exuberant nature which even today is home to species such as the “mountain monkey,” a marsupial, the Andean antelope (pudú), as well as trees such as the native ulmo, conifer, cinnamon laurel and Chilean beech, which evolved in isolation, forming animal and vegetal species endemic to this vast southern continent.

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© Hotel Refugia

mobile arquitectos:

The Refugia Hotel is located on the Rilan Peninsula on the Island of Chiloé in the Lakes Region of southern Chile. From the site one has a distant view across an inland sea of the volcano-studded Andes on the mainland. Nearby on the surrounding the peninsula, one can enjoy the on-going activity of the tides, the picturesque beauty of the waterways, and the rich biodiversity of the wetlands of Pullao.

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© Hotel Refugia

The architecture of the hotel seeks to plant a light footprint on the topography of the landscape. In the manner of a bridge, a linear arrangements of rooms, suspended on four concrete pillars, is designed to be a structural composition perched on a hilltop, rather than an opaque edifice growing out of it, maximizing light, space, sky and perspective.

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© Hotel Refugia

The island’s climate is both enchanting and fickle, and at times, extreme. In just one hour there might be wind, sun and/or rain. An effort was made to capture the splendor of this variability with extensive glass facades and wooden-clad ceilings of larch in the central spaces as well exterior sheltered spaces, encouraging contact with an environment that is the unique experience of visiting Chiloé.

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© Hotel Refugia

Envelope and construction:

One of the design challenges of the project was to reconcile the fact that the views from the hotel were predominantly southward, while capturing or dissipating the heat from the sun coming from the north (remember this is the Southern Hemisphere) in the predominantly cold and rainy weather of Chiloé. To do this, passive design strategies that optimize the use of energy were employed, including harnessing the sun’s heat trapped in concrete floors, promoting radiant heat cross ventilation to keep cool and to ventilate common spaces, and using eaves to prevent the entry of the sun during the summer.

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© Nico Saieh

Other considerations included calculating the effect of driving rain water, carefully designing the orientation and configuration of openings and windows to take advantage of natural light and to maintain heat control, and employing skylights at crucial points. These strategies were combined with highly efficient mechanical systems in conjunction with an insulated and ventilated skin designed to ensure the lowest possible heat loss and cooling efficiency.

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© Nico Saieh

The use of geometry and the application of wood in the design of the skin of the structure, as well as the interior partitions, were central to the overall architectural concept. Using parametric design technology to predict the optimal shape of each larch shingle and its positioning, complemented with artisanal labor to craft and install them, was an innovative architectural and building technique that proved highly successful – the complementary melding of technology and manual skills.

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© Nico Saieh

Project Data:

Project name: Hotel Refugia
Location: San José, Castro, Chiloé, Chile
Coordinates: -42.463980, -73.676707
Type: Hotel, Hotel Interior
Structural & Material: reinforced concrete structure, Tile and Wood Flooring
Site Area: 6 ha.
Project Area: 1,250 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Construction Year: 2011
Status: Completed
Opening Date: September 1, 2012
Completion Year: 2012
Visit Hotel Refugia’s website: here

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: mobile arquitectos – Los Militares 5885, oficina S1 C, Las Condes Santiago, Chile
Project Architects: Sebastian Morandé, Patricio Browne, Antonio Lipthay
Collaborator Architect: Cristian Palma
Structural Engineering: Rodrigo Mujica, VMB-engineering
Construction: Ruben Paredes
Interior Design: Ignacio Yrarrazaval
Energy Efficiency And Facade Engineering: Esteban Undurraga, Juan Cristobal Perez
Hvac: Juan Cristobal Perez
Parametric Design: Lyon Bosch
Lighting: Monica Perez & Associates
Text Description: © Courtesy of mobile arquitectos, Hotel Refugia
Images: © Nico Saieh, Tali Santibanez, Daniel Corvillon, mobile arquitectos, Hotel Refugia

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