Concurso de Arte Público “Intervención de arte Homenaje a la Historia del Salitre en Alternativas de Acceso a Iquique”, Región de Tarapacá
Iquique (Cile), 2016
Auctioneer: Dirección de Arquitectura del Ministerio de Obras Públicas, en conjunto con la Comisión Nemesio Antúnez y la Coordinación de Concesiones de Obras Públicas
Credits: arch. Á. D. Lohse Álvarez e arch. M. A. Zerega Olivares
The Atacama desert witnessed one of the main periods of economic growth in Chile, attracting, from the mid-nineteenth century until the early twentieth century, entire families who colonized the driest desert on the planet, an apparently inert territory made place to life and, at the same time, generated its fertilizer. A large network of urban settlements was born, which at that time had more than two hundred large and small workshops, the "salitreras", which were inaugurated or closed with the sole aim of extracting the mineral, the saltpeter. The project proposal represents an abstraction of Atacama's network of "salitreras", representing them all, as each was part of the system at a certain moment in the history of the saltpeter, means recognizing them as part of the identity not only of this period but also of the place that hosted them. The result is a constellation made up of stylized bodies of different heights, which represent the population of each salitrera at the time of the 1930 census, a date which marks the end of the period of greatest economic growth, the so-called "Belle Époque" of Chile.
From a distant perspective, the proposal presents us with the complexity and density of the workshop system, while as we get closer we are able to distinguish the role and importance of the individual parts, of the workshop in its individuality and the many connections between them.