Early this month at the 2017 Greenbuild Expo in Boston, the Las Salinas district project in Viña Del Mar, Chile, was awarded LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) Gold certification for excellence in sustainability at a framework plan level. To achieve Gold status under the LEED v4 criteria—LEED’s most recent and demanding efficiency standards—a planning project must achieve 60 to 79 credits from LEED’s extensive list of prerequisites and consideration factors.
Las Salinas is the third project in the world to have met or exceeded the v4 LEED ND Gold standard and the first in the Americas. Its project counterparts are in Italy and Japan.
“This is an important achievement because it signifies a groundbreaking approach to neighborhood design, not only in Chile but more broadly in the Americas,” says Sasaki principal and designer Dennis Pieprz, Honorary ASLA. “We looked far beyond the immediate scope of the project and focused on what problems of the city and the region were facing. This larger context informed our approach and the resulting plan truly transcends the physical boundaries of the site, addressing those larger questions. At the site-scale, we focused on a responsible urbanism that creates cultural and recreational connection points for the Viña Del Mar community.”
The project site is highly strategic, sloping down from a large hill with picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. At the top of the hill, a community center will connect a historically underserved community to the ocean vistas for the first time.
Victor Eskinazi, senior associate and Las Salinas design leader, and three members of the Las Salinas client leadership presented on the project at the Greenbuild Expo. “Our ambition was to rethink development practices in the city and to reveal the true potential of Las Salinas to redefine the city’s trajectory” noted Eskinazi, “all while establishing the vital physical, ecological, and social connections the people of Viña are yearning for.”