Estacion Infiernillo, Vichuquén, Maule, Chile

Source: Mauricio Andres Ureta Vilagra


Mauricio Ureta Villagra

Type of Area


Land/water interaction


Built Environment Types

Low built
High green

Scale of Impact


Intervention Scale (Spatial)

Single object

Project Types

Outdoor recreation

Urban/ Rural

Rural hinterland

Visibility and Openness

Fully open
Full horizon

A hidden space

Estacion Infiernillo is situated on the south central Chilian coastline and lies to the north of Lipimavida, Vichuquén. It is the continuation of the local route that links the city of Curico to the coastal towns. The project aimed to create a dialogue between the scale of the landscape and the people that were intimately connected to it. The tenacity of the structure reflects the life of the local inhabitants, the Costino, in this difficult terrain and the ups-and downs of their lives. The wooden structure clings to the cliffs and blends well into the landscape. It also brings architecture to a challenging topography where previously there was none. 

The intention was to create a hidden space that was suitable for rest and contemplation. In the first stage of the pathway the view of the sea is deliberately obscured and the architecture envelops the visitors treading upwards on the granite chip paths. The open nature of the construction, however, allows the sound of the sea to be heard, activating the auditory senses. In the second stage the view opens up towards the sea, allowing space to contemplate the rugged coastline with the spectacle that the sea provides of the ceaseless motion of the crashing waves. Seating constructed from stone slabs with the cliffs as a back rest gives a place to sit and recover from the arduous climb. 

Perception and Meaning

Place attachment
Genius loci

Health and Wellbeing

Aesthetic experience

Interaction with Water


Chart, radar chart

Description automatically generated

Website of the project: [Spanish]

Google map reference

This project overcomes a difficult topography to provide a pathway from the cliff top to the bottom. The pathway, however, is still unsuitable for wheelchair and pushchair users, which is understandable due to the terrain. The design quality reflects and is informed by the site but given its exposure to the sea high maintenance of wooden decking is likely to be needed. The experience obtained by following the path gives great contact with nature, a sense of being away and a strong Genius Loci.

The construction materials have been chosen to blend into the landscape and hence site visibility is reduced. The enveloping section also obscures the sea and creates a space where the sense of sound becomes an important feature. Both these features add to the atmosphere of being a hidden place and giving it a sense of being away. 

The enveloping section of the pathway and the rails at the top increase the safety of this cliffside pathway. The decking at the top provides excellent water visibility and the seating a place to contemplate and rest. Shade and shelter is understandably low in this exposed site and the rugged coastline means access to safe water activities is not feasible.