This work focuses its reflection on the spatial and formal relationship between the conditions of extreme aridity of the Atacama Desert and the expression of an appropriate architecture where the contemporary notions of desert landscape and sustainable architecture intersect. The conditions of the desert environment are presented and differentiated between the different ecological levels that, by altitude, distinguish and determinate the architectural response. The notion of the desert landscape linked with the occupation of the Andean cultures is mentioned, contrasting this analysis but not under the traditional concepts that understand the desert landscape as an inhospitable landscape or a place that is not favorable for living beings. On the contrary, we propose to understand the desert as an ecologically fragile landscape of high scenic value, in which a desert culture has been developed, in the archaeological field, in the agriculture of the oases, and a great productive activity of the sustainable mining industry. Finally, the environmental invariants that are considered at the architectural design level are established as attributes or environmental properties integrated in an ecological framework allowing us to distinguish how these significant entities in a certain context organize in an unprecedented way how to inhabit the desert.
Part of the book: Landscape Architecture
This chapter addresses the environmental and socio-cultural impact that the Industrial Revolution has maintained in the exploitation of the arid territories of the Atacama Desert. The perspectives, challenges and management of a region noted for its great contribution to the economic development of Chile are observed. Since the first promotion of the mining industry, today new industries such as solar energy, tourism and astronomy have strengthened regional development. This is the region with the highest solar radiation on the planet and one of the best places for astronomical observation, in the most Mars-like landscape on Earth. However, the development has not manifested itself in the well being of the cities, which have an average standard of urban development. The methodology of the study has a qualitative approach, assessing the fragility of the desert ecological system, with the strategies of adaptation to climate change and sustainable development. Improving the livability of cities, with unprecedented urban and architectural forms, is a necessity. The research hypothesis proposes that desert territories have a great potential to trigger sustainable energy transition. In conclusion, deserts are key environments to lead the process of innovation and creation of new desert cities.
Part of the book: Arid Environment