Chile: Santiago team grows alongside booming Latin American markets


Hyphen’s Santiago de Chile team is now bigger than ever and is set to grow even further in the coming months. Starting the year in a new larger premises, the team are expanding in response to rapid regional growth in the data centre and retail sectors.

Foundations in Latin America

It was nine years ago when we delivered our first project in Latin America. Our Madrid team worked with consultant partners from the region with local expertise to support the client and ensure they experienced the Hyphen quality that they were accustomed to in Europe whilst adapting to local market conditions. As European clients sought to expand in Latin America it was clear that the region had significant potential for growth.

Just four years later, in 2017, it became important for us to have a stronger presence in South and Central America, which led to the opening of our Santiago office in Chile.

Eva Diego García, Director of Hyphen in Madrid, says “In many ways it mirrors the way we began in Europe. This could be seen as an early step of a much larger international expansion – the first stone to be placed outside of Europe – and the opportunities are huge. The entire region of Latin America could have multiple Hyphen locations to mirror our European network of offices.”

Things are very different here in Latin America. We have different time zones, cultures and ways of seeing architecture. This can be a challenge, but it is also a benefit because at Hyphen we have a very European way to see architecture. We are architects, but we are also consultants. We do site analysis, due diligence, evaluation, construction costs, bill of quantities, and that’s not that common in other architectural offices in Santiago.

Collaboration is at the heart of what we do and is especially relevant in Latin America when you consider the vast distances involved. Mexico City, for example, is 6,500 km from Santiago and a flight would take around eight hours. The costs of travel alone can be significant, which is why we have established several local alliances to ensure the most efficient client support. We work with local architects who can assist with projects within their field of expertise. They can help us with permitting, site visits, local staff materials and other key resources.

We have now delivered projects all over Latin America. Our key markets are in Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Peru, but we have also supported clients with work in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

A changing world

The world has now changed dramatically in recent years and this is especially evident in the data centre, logistics and retail sectors, three key sectors for us at Hyphen. For data centres, Latin America has experienced significant growth during the pandemic, with the increased need for remote working and rapid growth in big tech. We are seeing most of the leading companies expand heavily in the Latin American region.

For logistics, the expansion into Latin America has been a way to overcome the challenges of vast distances between sites and for phygital commerce integration.

With retail, we are seeing a change in the habits of consumers which is driving development in the region. Latin American consumers of luxury retail would traditionally travel to Europe and the United States for their products, to places like Miami, New York, Milan, Paris or London. Due to the pandemic, they have not been able to travel, which has meant that their needs had to be satisfied locally. There have been luxury retail brands that were not in Latin America that have now identified it as a key market.

International collaboration

One of the reasons why we have expanded so much is that we have created a special project team in Santiago to collaborate with our offices in Europe, particularly the UK. Our team are highly skilled and well-trained, with expertise in architectural technologies, including Revit – a building information modelling software. Because our team shares Hyphen’s core values and approach to architecture, we are ideally placed to support the teams in Europe.

CEO at Hyphen, Eddie Miles, says, “When we started working in Latin America there was less competition. We chose Santiago in Chile because the country has a legal system that is very recognisable to Europeans. We felt comfortable and secure there.

“What we discovered when we started working in Chile was that we can draw on an absolutely brilliant talent pool. We currently operate two streams, one supports the local market and the other as a back-up for our European offices. We found that clients see the value of appointing us in other countries across Latin America, including as far north as Mexico.

“We would like to replicate what we have in Europe across the entire region of Latin America.”

This is a very exciting time, and we look forward to diversifying even more and growing our international network throughout 2022 and beyond.

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