Casa del Carbonero/Charcoal Burner’s Hut by Smiljan Radic

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A traditional charcoal furnace in Chile is constructed by making a 300cm diameter and 120 cm deep hole in the ground and methodically filled with a heap of hewn thorn wood. This heap is covered with clay and straw and pounded with a short stick to form a homogenous clay mound. A series of regular perforations in the perimeter form flues to regulate the rate at which the fire burns. When the furnace has cooled, the charcoal is removed and the dome, bake hard and self supporting is empty – ready for the next batch of wood. La Casa del Carbonero, or the Charcoal burner’s hut, (1999) by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, attempts to literally “unearth” the original domes dotted across the coastal region.

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