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Gran Casino & Hotel Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Chile

Monday 11 Apr 2011

From the woodlands to the city

Josefina Vergara A. 
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Award Entry

Turner Arquitectos have built a hotel inspired by the natural surroundings and warmth of Chile 

The challenge of this brief was to combine a casino, hotel and convention centre all in one small site located in Los Angeles downtown, a small city in the south of Chile, dedicated mostly to the increasing forest industry. Therefore, Los Angeles Gran Casino was conceived as an urban meeting place as well as a visual reference inside the city.

From the beginning, the architects decided to project a building that has minimal impact and integrates with its context. Due to the multiplicity of programmes the brief required, the building was conceived as a group of volumes with similar appearance, but with different degrees of permeability according to their purpose. The materials used such as exposed concrete, steel and crystal offer a simple image to the building's volumes. These are inserted into the urban scheme, consolidating the existing walking path and enhancing the user's experience.

Vertical nature of some structural elements were altered in order to reduce the rigidity of the structures and to represent the tree trunks and branches as an abstraction of the woodlands surrounding the province's main economic activity. The tallest and most visible building houses a 90-room hotel. Its façade, composed by diagonal columns springing out of a central pillar, gives the similar appearance of tree branches extending from its trunk.

The entrance hall, located on its west façade, constituted the meeting point of the hotel, casino and convention centre. It's the most exposed area because of its transparency and connection between the pedestrian promenades Paseo Quilque and Colo-Colo Street. The interior design also emulates the surrounding woods, therefore one can go inside the building, walk through the forest of columns and decide whether to try one's luck at the casino, relax at the hotel or just go to the other side and enjoy a nice walk at Paseo Quilque. Diagonal columns occupy the two main faces of the casino. At night the artificial lights bring mobility to the façades, giving an idea of what you can experience on entering this enclosed box: an array of images, lights and sounds that alter notion of time, giving way to entertainment.

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Turner Arquitectos

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