The traces left by extraction and accumulation activities of mining industries on Atacama Desert define a new kind of territory. In the case of the decantation pools, and the waste piles, these last ones, artificial mountains of dead material put in evidence the construction of a “new geography” also with copper and nitrate company towns. But its status is ambiguous: As these geographic accidents are not completely “natural”, they are not a matter of research by geographers. But as they are not completely artificial, they are not a matter of speculation for architects or urbanists. With al that, these new landscapes are not usually registered by conventional cartographies, even they have an irreducible le size. Maybe one of its reasons of this knowledge void is also one of its more interesting ones: having forms, geometries and configurations in constant change, parallel to the mining activity.
This ambiguity nevertheless wouldn’t be correct to convert it in a debate on the division between nature and culture, but on the contrary, it allows us to think on the territory over this sterile duality, because its structural and morphological characteristics deserve their own detention and analysis.
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was born in Santiago, Chile in 1975. He obtained a Bachelor and a Master´s degree in architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2000. He has a Ph.D at the Architectural Association, where he teaches since 2005 and is currently a visiting tutor of the History and Critical Thinking’ Masters Program (HCT MA). He teaches Design and Architectural Theory at the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile, institution where he is the Director of the Master’s Program in Architecture (MARQ). His book, Deserta; ecology and industry in the Atacama Desert (Santiago: ARQ, 2012) was published along with numerous articles in international magazines. Along with H. Palmarola, was awarded with the RIBA Research Trust (2008). In 2010 he was awarded the Getty Research Grant, a Fellowship as Visiting Scholar at the CCA in Montreal and the Prince Claus Fund in Amsterdam (2011).
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