A new contemporary hotel has deep classic roots in Chile’s “cultural capital”. The Fauna Hotel Chile rises high to overlook the port below, standing in a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated for its maritime history. In the 19th century, Valparaiso was a common waypoint for travelers by sea, arguably the most important Pacific port in South America. Cultures from all over the world came through Valparaiso, leaving footprints of language, cuisine and architecture in the city that remains. The Fauna Hotel Chile is its newest destination, a boutique hotel that brings modern inspiration to the old structure it occupies.
The Fauna Hotel Chile tapped Fantuzzi + Rodillo Arquitectos to imagine a contemporary hotel that fits into the world heritage site around it. To meet the neighborhood standards, the architects were to restore the building standing on its plot and build anew within its walls. They reconditioned a housing building from 1870 into this modern structure that maintains elements of the original in its design. Old brick walls line some interior spaces. Massive rock sections protrude into others, lit by the designers to emphasize their part in the structure’s history. From varied viewpoints, the building is both classical and contemporary, looking right at home in the world heritage site while also appearing bold and contemporary at its peak.
The hotel features a small collection of guest rooms over three stories, with a fourth floor reserved for public patio spaces. The view from the top floor patio sweeps across Valparaiso, with the sparkling mountains behind and the coast beyond. Lights dot every inch of this panorama, with residences in the hills and ships in the sea suggesting the very urban feel of the area.
Inside, the design is rustic-cum-contemporary, with old materials and restored sections meeting sharp and angular patterns common in contemporary design. The result feels new and progressive, but its spirit feels old and culturally important. This was a deliberate move by the architects, and it echoes the spirit of Valparaiso around it.