Ferrovial La ingeniería civil como arte: creatividad e innovación

The efficient energy of justice

Santiago, Chile

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Santiago is a complex metropolis. It holds seven provinces and as many sectors; multiple cities, communes, and municipalities converge there.

To the southeast of Chile’s capital, where the city starts to climb the slopes of the Andes, lies the most populated commune of all: Palo Alto. There, walls of green glass and steel are being erected. These will set the pace for the modernization of justice in the South American country.

Construction on the new Puente Alto Judicial Center is being carried out by Ferrovial. The project aims to meet the judicial needs of the commune with the highest population density in Chile, with over 570,000 inhabitants. With 7,600 square meters for administrative offices, courts, parking, and cells, the building is also the third-largest center of the Chilean Judiciary and a symbol of the modernization of the country’s justice infrastructure.

The three-story building is divided into two blocks: one exclusively for the family court and the other for the civil and legal court. The first block also houses the parking lot, cells, and visiting rooms. Energy efficiency is an obsession throughout the building, one that has earned the project LEED certification.

All of the exterior walls, beams, and cornices are made of concrete and are thermally insulated with an organic coating. The floors of the rooms are made of wood. There’s a skylight measuring 150 square meters in the central hall, which is adorned by a large wall with plant-like decorations. There’s also a passive energy-saving system that allows light to come in while keeping heat out.

The same motif appears throughout the entire façade of the new Puente Alto Judicial Center, constituting one of its most characteristic features. The outer walls are covered with a 2,800 square meter curtain wall made of double-skin tempered glass that protects the interiors from the sun. That’s a must in a city where the sky is clear for most of the year.

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