Parque Quilapilun is a 380 ha park project designed as an environmental compensation measure to Anglo-American’s Las TortolasTailing Dam and Los Bronces Integrated Project. This mining operation, accounting to 370,000 tons of fine copper, is located 35 km north of Santiago, the country’s capital and city of 6 million inhabitants.
Las Tórtolas Tailing Dam is part of an industrial landscape that has been mined for the past 150 years. The mine’s unstopped development pace has brought many environmental constrains to an anthropogenically impacted territory. In addition to mining claims, historical land degradation and loss of endemic habitat has been also accelerated by climate change and continuous droughts.
In this environmental context, Angloamerican has to constantly update its permits and approve new extraction projects through the Environmental Assessment Service of Chile (SEA). In October 2007 Anglo American approved an investment of US$2.4 billion to expand its Los Bronces open cut copper and molybdenum mine, which included raising the Las Tórtolas Tailings Dam over 50 mt.
Starting 2007, Panorama and our former practice IBA Arquitectos, designed a comprehensive compensation masterplan based on ecological restoration, resiliency, and revitalization of local ecosystems. The development strategy was outlined using design as an interpretative and mediation tool for legal requirements and community demands during the environmental approval process. Through land restoration the project proposes a planned land reclamation, using environmental legal requirements as a means to recover natural habitat.
Though the initial obligation was to restore 212 hectares spread throughout 6.000 hectares, creating a restorative common vision portrayed a landscape restoration model, focusing on the reclamation of a territory rather than on individual species loss which was the legal emphasis. This strategy entailed creating a mosaic of close-knit forest patches and land corridors letting assisted natural regeneration ANR to occur at a broader scale.
The long-term masterplan envisioned several functionalities for the future Quilapilun Park:
Ecological Functionality Restoration, aimed for the largest land section. Its purpose is to restore richness, contain erosion, increase habitat richness and diversity to a pre development stage.
Biotechnology Research Park, An applied investigation park aiming to build a strategical alliance between scientists and native forests is planned adjacent to the recreational park. This 40-hectare park plans to create a platform for biotechnology exchange, education and display.
Ecological Corridor. A 60-hectare buffer corridor connecting adjacent neighborhoods and communities was designed to improve connectivity, serve as visual barrier and protect restoration areas.
Public Recreational Park. A small 4,5 hectare park was included as a means to visualize and experience the broader regional landscape. This educational park focuses on native based and drought tolerant landscapes, with the intent to create awareness on local landscapes ́ inherent beauty and ornamental uses.
Multipurpose Compensation Project. The park absorbs and integrates requirements from government services such as Forestry, Agriculture, National Archeological Service, Tourism Board and Local Municipalities among others. By identifying four strategic functions such as; public outreach, environmental research, community access and protected reserve area, a wide range of legal responses and obligations were embraced under a common design project, thus allowing financial support to a broad restoration plan.
A small Public Park was envisioned as the kickoff start for the 380 hectare park. Parque Explorador Quilapilun aims to build a panoramic view of the region’s local landscapes and ecosystems. The project seeks to convey a native habitat experience whist showcasing smaller theme gardens. Rather than exalting a nationalist discourse on territory, the purpose of creating an exclusively native based landscape pursues the display of native flora as an appropriate alternative to be used in residential gardens. This is relevant because there is an embedded appreciation for an English garden aesthetic, traditionally disregarding native plants.
To achieve its purpose, Panorama designed a staged narrative where a succession of local landscapes are exhibited. Discourse was enforced developing different routes, each telling a distinct story and viewpoint of our local landscape and using native fauna as the accompanying characters. Graphic design and signage were also developed by Panorama.
The native garden recreates the Thorny Forest and Shrubland, and the Sclerophyllous Forest and Shrubland. Theme gardens present native and endemic species integrating a nation-based narrative, including anthropological uses, endangered species, a native cactus garden, an ethnobotanical garden and an endurance garden.
Increased Drought and water requirements in mining operations have challenged the implementation project, increasing adaptation demands on newly established specimens. Although this additional query contests the project’s success, its ANR principles should allow a slower but more enduring result.
Neighboring communities were part of the construction process and have been on the maintenance and outreach team.
B. BASIC DATA
PROJECT NAME: Parque Quilapilun
PROJECT AREA: 380 Hectares
LOCATION: Santiago, Chile
CLIENT: Angloamerican Chile PARTNER OFFICES: B-Green (Leed Approval Process) AWARD CATEGORY: Infrastructure