Copiapo Brine Network © Ryan Canning, Gabriela Mill

Copiapo Brine Network

Ryan Canning, Gabriela Mill

University of Strathclyde

Project Description

Charles Darwin once described Chile’s Copiapó valley as a ‘green ribbon’, an ‘island’ in the world’s driest desert. Today, after decades of growth in mining and agriculture – two vital industries for the Chilean economy – the region faces a crisis, as fresh water resources are overstretched; the vines of the valley are withering, and the green ribbon is fading into the dust of the desert that surrounds it.

The Copiapó Brine Network links the city to the sea through an aqueduct and recreational route, with three architectural interventions. Each intervention generates new opportunities for local industry and culture, whilst serving as a functional node for the water purification process. In the wider context, the project celebrates water infrastructure at a time when it is becoming even more important to our cities. Urban development simply doesn’t exist without such structures. Indeed, life does not exist without water.

Winner: A&DS Sustainable Design Award

The creation of a route through the Andean landscape which supports the local ecology. This scheme addresses issues of sustainability from the outset with clarity and a very direct approach. Playfully looks at issues which affect the area and transforms problems into assets.
Judges’ Comments