Chañaral wetland reclaiming park

The park generates an adaptation of the coastal morphology
Remediation pools, different floor coverings and forestation are the design elements of the park
Study case: Chañaral Bay
Components of the urban landscape
The park is proposed in three phases of consecutive construction
Flowsheet and dynamic on territory
The public space rescues the main elements of the landscape
Pavilions and park equipment
Section Details
Section Details
Habitats and biodiversity projected
Axonometric and detail of the main components of the park

Primary Author

  • Facultad de Arquitectura Universidad de Chile


  • Universidad de Chile


  • Carolina Devoto Magofke (Profesor)


  • Alberto Fernandez




Chañaral is located in the coast of Atacama Desert, been affected for the most serious process of mining pollution in the South Pacific. The dumping of 250 million tons of mine tailings, have transformed the coastal morphology, making the coastline recede 2 km, destroying the physical and environmental relations. The accumulation of sediments and the high concentration of harmful minerals generate the extinction of marine resources and biodiversity. In summary, this scenario defines Chañaral unsuitable for proper development of life. In addition, the city is in the lower part and ending of one of the few water flows that the region has, places it in a position the permanent risk. The sudden rises of the “Río Salado”, causes the collapse of urban infrastructure, exposure to pollutants wastes, causes many human losses, and more. The lack of planning, the poor risk control policies and the weakness of the authorities, urge generate proposals for the ecological and cultural landscape remediation. This proposal does not remedy the central problem, but intends to take over one of the weakest areas of the city. The main strategy is the estuary transformation in an artificial wetland and park to progressively reduced water pollution levels of the Río Salado and the coastline. This initiative promotes the use of biological techniques and landscape design, focus on the following challenges and questions: How to implement an artificial wetland in a deteriorated and extreme environment? Is it possible to relate the city with the wetland and this new landscape project?

Project Statement

Studying at the University of Chile, means a great opportunity to take awareness of the problems that the country has, as well of the studies and indicatives that they are emerging to recognize, evaluate and resolve them. The development of this academic project has meant involve architecture and urbanism with multiple disciplines and tools of territorial analysis. This allows identifying the different dynamics that influence the quality of life of people in extremely degraded territories and landscapes. This proposal situate the landscape as infrastructure. It is holding and is a reflection of the physical, environmental, social and cultural conditions of a place. Changing the traditional paradigm in which the trend was to contain and oppose natural dynamics, to make way for an integration of the cycles and ecological processes in the planning and design of our cities and landscapes. The design of a park that has the goal of environmental remediation means an opportunity for future guidelines that the country has to develop in order to achieve a level where the natural and constructed system can related with balance and respect. Chile, will always have conflicts with mining and land development. As one of the productive activities, it is essential to find ways to subsist between all parties. In this point is where the new technology and the design have to dialogue with the goal to solve dissociation that occurs between the productive sectors and territories.

Project Description

The proposal is to generate into the coastline of the city a wetland and a multi - functional park that will filter and store river water. The project promotes the change of point of view, with the application of an experimental development of remediation techniques, combined with environmental education, and development of new productive activities. The project means the creation of a new public space, which retrieves nature for the city, increasing recreational and cultural experiences. The design strategies are: 1. Integration of Urban Regeneration Area Reconstruction and improvement of the coastline damaged by river rises. Integration with the coastline through the multifunctional park. 2. Reconnecting infrastructure and transport networks Planning and redesign the mobility networks 3. Decontamination and recovery of ecosystem services. Conformation of the Park to environmental remediation of the water and soil. Promotion of the recovery of natural ecosystems and aesthetic improvement of the landscape and green areas. 4. Tailings material handling and reuse proposal, and cleaning the area Incorporated as part of the project management process of exploitation of tailings material for reprocessing and extraction of copper and other metals. 5. Integration of spaces and infrastructure for recreation, research, education, leisure and culture. Designing equipment and infrastructure for park development program

The park generates an adaptation of the coastal morphology