Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage
Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage

LOOKOUT ÑIELOL

Jaime Inostroza

ARCHITECTS
Jaime Inostroza

PHOTOGRAPHS
Andrew Pielage

LOCATION
Temuco, Chile

MANUFACTURERS
Autodesk, Rothoblaas, Lecker, Maderas Martini, Trimble

AREA
7 m²

CONSTRUCTOR
Las Rocas

CLIENT
Sociedad Amigos Del Árbol

FUNDING
Ilustre Municipalidad De Temuco

CATAGORY
Installations & Structures, Landscape Architecture

YEAR
2021

Just a seven-minute walk from the center of Temuco is the main entrance of Cerro Ñielol through Prat street. This axis links the foot of the hill to the other edge of the city, the Cautín River.

In Chile, there are only seventeen declared natural monuments and one of them is the Ñielol hill.The ascent to the hill starts subtly by a winding path that follows the contour lines of the existing topography.

Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage
Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage

This path formed by the density of shade from the foliage of native trees is suddenly illuminated by rays of light and landscape windows looking out over the city of Temuco.

Reaching its summit at 230 above sea level, the architectural procession is established by a staircase that reaches a large terrace, a horizontal plane on the summit.

This horizontal plane becomes an architectural gesture that elevates the gaze over the territory, giving size, scale, and magnitude to the city's valley, configuring its identity.

The morphology of this valley is established, where the void is measured by the Conunhueno hill that faces the Ñielol hill, and where the Cautín river can be glimpsed in its lower part as a diagonal avenue of water.

Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage
Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage

So, how to build an architectural project that inhabits the act of ascending and that manages to frame the landscape of this territory?

This small space had a door with stained glass; a veil of light that allowed one to catch a glimpse without fully discovering the interior.

This observation of the ancient dwelling of Temuco was what we wanted to preserve.This forms the space and the location. The project seeks to find a measure, a scale between the sky, the trees, and the existing platform.

The previous viewpoint was already 40 years old with obvious structural deterioration.In a way, the project builds a new altitude for the city of Temuco and becomes an urban meeting space and a gift for the inhabitant.

Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage

Since my experience building and designing “El Refugio Atalaya” at Taliesin West (by architect Frank Lloyd Wright), I try to explore a principle of how to elevate or suspend the architectural construction, while a sequence of arrivals becomes an architectural procession where the experience of the inhabitant is qualified by the light.

Therefore, when walking from the street, the step was shortened by glimpsing a silhouette of an interior.Returning to the identity of the traditional dwellings of Temuco, the old houses had a foyer; a double door before entering the privacy of the home.

Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage

The structural and architectural study established that the goal was to recover and reinforce the existing concrete bases and to conserve the four existing cypress pillars while building a new body on top of them using Oregon pine wood.

The top part of the project is a complete renovation of the lookout structure that existed. Rothoblaas structural screws were used for the joints and links.

A double-height is established from a base of four by four meters, incorporating a bridge as the main access, defining a threshold from shadow to backlight.When proceeding from this compressed area, the space dilates revealing the height, measured by the gaze.

The first level has a continuous lower window that allows the visitor to sit down and contemplate the city from its aerial geography. This height is qualified by the wooden lattice, which, like a veil of light, reveals the foliage of the landscape of the native forest.

The second level is reached by means of the staircase, an architectural element that passes from interior to exterior, ending in an upper balcony that makes up the second level.

The visitor is now elevated in the aerial profile of the summit.When mentioning this project to Fernando Pérez Oyarzun, he mentioned how Alberto Cruz spoke of “The Height and the Altitude”.

Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage
Lookout Ñielol
© Andrew Pielage

As Frank Lloyd Wright said in his book, The Future of Architecture: “If the thing is successful (the effort of the architect) you cannot imagine that house or that work in any other place than right where it is.

It is a grace to its environment, instead of dishonoring it." The project became a gift to the place.


Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol
Lookout Ñielol