The mass process of rural–urban migration is usually associated with a search for the better conditions and quality of life that cities tend to offer. However, in many territories this migration is linked to the depletion of the natural resources on which the local economy depends. This forces people to migrate, in spite of the interest they have in staying. When this happens, how are new opportunities for development generated? What hope is there for an overexploited and impoverished territory whose inhabitants are migrating to the city in search of opportunities? The challenge for GrupoTalca is to resignify a place using architecture, letting Pinohuacho, a small community in the southern mountains of Chile, retain its inhabitants and tradition without giving up development.
Instead of waiting for economic resources as a precondition for development, GrupoTalca understands that the strategic production of that same environment is itself a motor for development, perhaps the only one available for that community.
The Pinohuacho viewpoint responds to a sophisticated requirement—which would not have appeared spontaneously—with a basic and forceful operation, using the resources of the place with precision. The choice of material, the available workforce, and craftsmanship turn an archaic lumberman tradition into a simple and direct construction process, giving great quality to the construction and the place.
The viewpoint integrates and strengthens local knowledge in the construction process, from the lumberjack who collects the tree trunks that have been discarded by forestry companies to the carpenter who saws and prepares the 10-by-120-inch pieces of wood and the cabinetmaker who cuts the pieces and assembles the viewpoint.
By conceiving the project as a trigger for development and not as its consequence, GrupoTalca allowed a group of artisans (the same group that assembled the viewpoint at the Arsenale) to add value to their work, community, and traditions.