About Parque Bahía Esperanza

Reviving the history of Última Esperanza

The history of Última Esperanza goes back to the 1500s when in 1557, the members of the maritime expedition of the Spanish Captain Juan Ladrillero tried to reach the Strait of Magellan. They crossed the Pacific Ocean in the ship San Luis to take possession of the Strait on behalf of the King of Spain, Viceroy of Peru, and Governor of Chile.

Opinion column by Joaquín Carmona, general manager, Parque Bahía Esperanza.

In 1557, members of the Spanish Captain Juan Ladrillero’s maritime expedition attempted to reach the Strait of Magellan by crossing from the Pacific Ocean. They believed that the feat would be easier because in 1520 Hernando de Magallanes had crossed through the strait, but in the opposite direction (Atlantic-Pacific), however, it was not easy. The explorers had not contemplated that the difficulties the geography of the place presented (its infinite fjords and bays) would make it almost impossible to cross the Strait of Magellan along the Pacific-Atlantic direction.

After many frustrating attempts, Captain Juan Ladrillero started placing his last hopes on finding a way to cross the strait, a dream he was able to achieve in 1558. (It is not Ladrillero who baptizes the Ultima Esperanza fjord, but rather the expedition of Skyring and Kirke in 1829 with the English name “Last Hope” in honor of the Ladrillero expedition).

In honor of the pioneers and experienced sailors who entered these Patagonian fjords looking for a new passage to the Atlantic, we dedicate the monument. It represents the bow of a wooden boat to emulate the view of those who ventured through these places, facing the wind, cold, and rain, elements that Will receive visitors of Parque Bahía Esperanza in this same place.

Monumento Última Esperanza presented a great challenge for its construction: due to its remote location and difficult access, because of the topography and the extreme climate of its location, and on account of being inserted on a hill facing a Magellanic fjord. For four months, the team was exposed to the strong wind characteristic of the area, erecting a 5-story building, a scale typical of the magnitude of the local landscape.

The design was conceived as an interpretation of the Region’s half-timbered construction. Traditional carpentry techniques and Magellan Lenga were combined with a precise prefabricated laminated wood structure that could give a boat geometry. There was a careful design process to create smaller pieces that could be transported along the park’s trails and manipulated by human power, without machinery, scaffolding, or cranes. To intervene as little as possible on the ground, Ecopiles were used, ground screws that are inserted punctually into the ground. Once screwed to the ground, the pieces were assembled floor by floor, gradually reaching a height of 12 meters. The wind presented the most significant effort to which the structure had to resist, so numerous diagonals “tie” the viewpoint to each other and to the hill to withstand gusts of 200 km/h. As a finish, Lenga boards cover the structure and roof, with a wood typical of the constructive identity of the place that resists the passage of time.

The result is a large viewpoint that seeks to take visitors to an experience of exposure to the elements, simulating sailing on a ship that scales the landscape and allows visitors to experience Parque Bahía Esperanza from another perspective.

More information in www.parquebahiaesperanza.com

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