ALMA Residencia


The ALMA Residencia is the home for staff and people working temporarily at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). It is sited at the ALMA Operations Support Facility, close to San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile.

The Residencia was the last major item to be delivered to the ALMA project by ESO. Construction work began on 23 February 2015 and finished in March 2017.

The shape of the buildings and the colour of the exteriors of this major architectural project have been designed to meld with the surrounding environment of the ALMA site. The design for the building was undertaken by the Finnish architects Kouvo & Partanen and was then adapted to the Chilean market by Rigotti & Simunovic Arquitectos, a Chilean architecture firm. Given the harsh desert environment, remote location and shift work (both day and night) for the ALMA staff, the Residencia has been designed to provide a relaxing and pleasant on-site environment for those staying there, who come from as many as 20 countries worldwide.

The Residencia has two main zones: common areas and dormitory areas. The design is modular, allowing additional accommodation to be added if necessary. Initially there will be 120 rooms extending across six buildings. The common areas include leisure facilities such as a library, cafeteria, lounge, spa with gym, swimming pool, sauna, and barbecue area. A kitchen and dining room is also provided, with enough space to accommodate half of the residents at any one time.

The construction contract to build the ALMA Residencia was awarded to the consortium AXIS LyD Construcciones Ltda, consisting of Constructora L y D S.A. and Axis Desarrollos Constructivos S.A. Both are Chilean companies with experience in constructing residential buildings in the challenging environment of northern Chile.

More images of the ALMA Residencia can be seen here.

ALMA Residencia: General View of the Array of Buildings


ALMA Residencia: Interior View Access Hall & Lounge, 1st Floor Main Building.


ALMA Residencia: Interior Yard View, between Dormitory Buildings