(Pictured, left to right: Tomás McKay, Kushal Lachhwani, Pablo Alfaro)
LAEP alumni Tomás McKay (M.L.A. ‘17), Kushal Lachhwani (M.L.A. ‘16) and Pablo Alfaro (M.L.A. ‘16) recently won an international design competition cosponsored by the Pachacamac Museum, the Special Bicentennial Project, and the Centenario Group. The call for designs sought new ideas to create a unique public space on the perimeter of the Pachacamac Sanctuary. The sanctuary, which is immersed in the urban grid of the Lurin District south of Lima, is one of the most important archaeological sites in Peru and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
McKay, Lachhwani, and Alfaro’s design, “The Plinth and the Mantle,” was chosen from among 116 submissions as the winning proposal for the park. Using ecology as a framework, the design considered how to turn ecology and urban growth into the main drivers to protect the archaeological site. To achieve this cohesion, the design proposes an economical and innovative approach to create a ‘mantle’ and a ‘plinth’ for this sanctuary to thrive. While the Plinth secures the heritage of Pachacamac and improves social life for the Lurin District, the Mantle enhances the archaeological experience by introducing ecology as a living protective layer on the site.
The Plinth is an active urban promenade and buffer bordering the perimeter of the sanctuary. It establishes a continuous path and street to improve access, connectivity, and amenities for residents and visitors, while securing the park’s perimeter from undesired land invasion. The path also connects the site to other important cultural projects in the area: the National Museum, the Site Museum of the Pachacamac Sanctuary, and the Urpi Wachaq initiative for the recovery of wetlands. Another feature of the Plinth is its function as a “water factory,” treating gray water from the neighborhood and re-using it to irrigate the park.
The Mantle is an ecological blanket that covers the entire site, protecting archaeological remains from the forces of nature, while providing ecosystem services to the surrounding neighborhoods. The Mantle moves recycled water throughout the park and turns it into fog, creating a “tillandsial,” an ecosystem found in the coastal desert of Peru and Chile. Tillandsia are also rootless, which allows them to cover large extensions of land without affecting the subsoil. Their capacity to accumulate sand over time will preserve the archaeological remains at Pachacamac ad keep them safe for future generations.
Additional information about the project design can be found here.