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January 2005


Unicornio Azul and Galeón Azul hotels:

Chiloe's modernity

These two buildings are the work of architect Edward Rojas, a significant figure in the effort of promoting Chiloe's identity. His professional mark is to respect the archipelago's building tradition, but with a modern edge that opens it to the world.

By Rosario Mena


These two buildings are the work of architect Edward Rojas, a significant figure in the effort of promoting Chiloe's identity. His professional mark is to respect the archipelago's building tradition, but with a modern edge that opens it to the world.

Unicornio Azul: Avenida Pedro Montt 228, Castro. Ph: (56-65) 632359
www.chiloeweb.com/pweb/unicornioazul/

Galeón Azul: Avenida Libertad 751, Ancud. Ph: (56-65) 622543
www.chiloeweb.com/pweb/galeonazul/

The Unicornio Azul hotel was one of the buildings chosen by the Sixth Architectural Biennial, and also distinguished by the Chilean Architects School, as one of the most significant of the last fifty years in our country. It is placed in Castro's seaborder Avenue, and started as an idea for recuperating an old wooden bodega. It was designed by architect Edward Rojas, a professional whose work has been distinguished for his combination of Chiloe's building tradition (wood and "tejuelas", mainly of alerce) and innovative materials, creating constructions that make the ancestral and the contemporary meet.

The hotel was built in 1986 by the initiative of Suny Castillo, its owner, who had been looking for a traditional house that could be transformed into a hotel. He found in Rojas the most commited of partners. The chosen building was a bodega originally built in 1910, which was reconverted with the help of Chiloe workers and the use of native wood. The result is a four-story building of 17 rooms, alongside a cabin with two other rooms, a restaurant and a meeting hall. Its gastronomy is based on fish and seafood.

Going south, in the city of Ancud, the same alliance raised the Galeón Azul, a smaller hotel with the same spirit of the one in Castro.


An ambassador of tradition
The work that Edward Rojas has developed in Chiloe and its tireless promotion of the typical local architecture has made him a key figure for Chiloe's international image. Even in his projects for large public buildings one sees the influence of the Chilote traditional houses, which helps to create a coherence among the city's larger and smaller buildings.

Among his projects, the most remarkable are the Hogar Filipense de Castro, the Dalcahue regional products' fair (designed with the architect Renato Vivaldi, and made on just big pillars holding an alerce-roof under which the artisans from all over the archipelago exchange their creations), the Internado Campesino San Francisco de Castro and the Los Cauquiles de Nercón condominium (based in the idea of the "palafitos" [pile dwelling]).

Some of his most popular public buildings are the Dalcahue Market (built with Renato Vivaldi in 1977, and which now holds the City building) and the Chiloe Modern Art Museum (with Eduardo Feuerhake), a building that recycled the old "Casa-Fogón" and recieved a special award on the Tenth Architectural Biennal, in the field of Restoration and Recycling.

 
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