FURNACES OF SALAMANCA: VERNACULAR BUILDING TECHNIQUES APPLIED TO SEMI-INDUSTRIAL TOBACCO PRODUCTION IN CHILE BETWEEN 1960 AND 1990
Keywords: Vernacular building techniques, Industrialization, Earthquake-resistant devices, Adobe, Wood-earth techniques, Tobacco production
Abstract. The furnaces of Salamanca were built during the period in which the British Tobacco Company operated in this area of the Region of Coquimbo in Chile (1960's to 1990's). A semi-industrial model of tobacco production was inserted, in which local farmers received technical training and materials to grow tobacco plants. During a first period the company bought green tobacco leaves, while later encouraging the sale of dried tobacco. This meant that local producers had to build their own furnaces, under the company's technical instructions. These instructions were delivered through architectural plans produced by the company, which were interpreted by local farmers according to their own vernacular construction knowledge. This combination resulted in a huge variety of constructive techniques – primarily based on earth – represented in one only architectural form. A cadastre accomplished by the authors in 2019 registered examples of furnaces built with adobe, quincha, tabique and a combination of several of these building systems. Similar systems also present variations - expressed especially in the use of different earthquake-resistant devices. These attend to variable economic conditions and constructive cultures of the local farmers. This article presents the register of 24 furnace ensambles located in 7 areas of Salamanca, characterized according to their construction type and state of conservation. These entries provide information on the richness of vernacular construction of the area and the efficiency of case-specific building solutions.