Huacas de Lima como centros comunitarios – propuestas desde la Universidad de Berkeley
By Javier Lizarzaburu
12 July 2017
Photo Courtesy of Rene Davids
Last March, College of Environmental Design Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Rene Davids and his group of 15 graduate architecture students traveled to Lima, Peru to investigate the relationship between modern architecture and pre-Hispanic Peruvian religious sites known as las huacas. Follows is an excerpt from Professor Davids’ essay regarding the team's experience and project objectives. Summaries of the student projects are available in the original article linked to this post.
Las Huacas de Lima, Peru: Enhancing archaeological sites through a proposal of community centers
by René Davids (this article originally appeared in Spanish)
Until very recently the treatment of huacas had not changed substantially since the Spaniards arrived in the Lima valley in the early 16th century and began to systematically destroy or raid structures of indigenous worship.
Currently the huacas in Lima are in different states of deterioration; some are crossed by roads. Others are being destroyed as the land they are located on is under pressure to be used as real estate development sites.
Unlike the large urban centers built by some cultures in the world, the original settlers of the lands of the Lima valley built small settlements surrounded by fields connected by clearly designated circuits.
Based on the history of the area and in order to enhance its presence and attract the public, the research team was asked to design a circuit connecting the huacas of the Pueblo Libre district.
Our research team was interested in looking at this legacy as the foci of community development in the context of a contemporary metropolis. This vision of huacas surrounded by greenery, as it was originally created, contrasts with the great Latin American conurbations today that do not have enough green space as places for the citizenry to go outdoors.
Along with the design of the huacas circuit, the workshop also proposed the development of a social center and a small site museum located near seven of the selected huacas.
One of the workshop objectives was to contribute to the huacas’ preservation through integration within the fabric of the surrounding city and the implementation of a program at the community center and museum.
The research team was sensitive to the fact they were visitors and strangers to the Huacas culture. Initially they did not want to appear to be dictating in their approach towards the problems of their hosts. However, the team realized that this perceived disadvantage gave them the freedom to contribute to the design conversation with an external perspective.
Some of the questions that were raised during the course of the semester in which the workshop was held included:
- How to you re-activate the vestiges of a culture that has disappeared?
- Is it possible to re-establish some semblance of the physical context, such as cultivated fields that originally surrounded the huacas?
- What would be the best architectural approach? Contrasting the new buildings with the huacas? Or trying to establish similarities between the proposed architecture and the huacas and / or finding a relationship with the most common architecture of Pueblo Libre?
- Is it possible to simultaneously satisfy the approaches of archaeologists, historians, architects, and the community living around those sites?
Some of the interesting solutions to the problems raised resulted in several typologies frequently determined by the conditions of the site. Examples included designing structures that floated on the huacas, buildings surrounding them, and buildings that established compositions in which the huacas were integrated directly into the design.
The course was taught by René Davids with the generous participation and help of Javier Artadi, Rodolfo Cortegana, Jean Pierre Crousse, Sharif Kahatt, Javier Lizarzaburu, Patricia Llosa, Renato Manrique, Denise Pozzi- Escot, Rafael Zamora in Peru.
The students that participated included: Ernesto Rementilla, Jeremy Ferguson, Hanwook Kim, Huiyao Chen, Jamay Li Kyungmin Hwang, Colin Griffin, Adriana Urbistondo Perez, Tristan Blackmore, Pablo Hernandez Rebeca Lee Estrada, Jingpeng Li, Sabrina Hussien, Sangwon Kim, Nikita Tugarin.