Perfectly integrated into the Mars-like landscape of Paranal in order to affect the astronomical observations as little as possible, it is no surprise that the Residencia was chosen as the perfect Bond villain’s hide-out.
The excellent astronomical conditions at Paranal come at a price. In this forbidding desert environment, virtually nothing can grow outside. The humidity drops below 10%, there are intense ultraviolet rays from the sun, and the high altitude leaves people short of breath. Living in this extremely isolated place feels like visiting another planet.
To make it possible for people to live and work here, a hotel or “Residencia” was built in the base camp, allowing them to escape from the arid outside environment. Returning from long shifts at the VLT and other installations on the mountain, here they can breathe moist air and relax, sheltered from the harsh conditions outside.
This award-winning construction was designed by German architects Auer+Weber as a subterranean L-shape, with a 35-metre dome covering an indoor garden; the use of natural materials and colours allows for a smooth integration in the Atacama’s landscape.
This singular building provides a unique backdrop for the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace”. The movie producer, Michael G. Wilson, said: “The Residencia of Paranal Observatory caught the attention of our director, Marc Forster and production designer, Dennis Gassner, both for its exceptional design and its remote location in the Atacama desert. It is a true oasis and the perfect hide out for Dominic Greene, our villain, whom 007 is tracking in our new James Bond film.”
The Residencia