Posts Tagged ‘Cercado’

Progress in Lima

January 12, 2012

We have been in Lima for a week now with 15 students from our Cultural Futures: Lima class and it has been very successful. We just completed presenting our ideas and designs that were developed during the class and during the last week of hard work in the Municipalidad, which is located right in the center of town on the lovely Plaza des Armas.

The main plaza from the roof of City Hall
With the aid of Gunther Merzthal, the city’s urban agriculture expert, we presented several projects to various agencies and officials. One project we developed during the last semester and revised based on feedback from the Department of the Environment, which is the primary contact in the city administration for our SAIC class. This was a green roof for the City Hall in Lima. They likely were aware of Chicago City Hall’s famed green roof and our students came up with a design that not only integrated social and educational functions but also remained within the sight lines required by the landmarks agency, ProLima, which oversees development in the Cercado, the center of Lima which was inscribed as a World Heritage Site some two decades ago.

Municipal Building – the idea is you can’t see the green roof from the street

Staircase in City Hall
We also presented two new concepts we had developed during the semester, one a “green neighborhood” in Barrios Altos that combined urban agricultural production, new residential units on upper stories, educational programming and potential conversion of behind-the-facade parking into productive green space. The highlight of the green neighborhood design, and the one that excited our hosts in Lima the most, was a redevelopment of this large Brutalist building that houses the municipal market with a large a diverse green roof “techo verde”

The highrise portion is just being used for storage by the merchants in this busy inner-city commercial area, but was once residential. This idea caught everyone’s attention right away and we spent a good portion of this week brainstorming a series of uses for the building from restaurants and food courts to thermal solar units and of course green roofs, made easier by the .5 meter square concrete beams that support the market section. We rendered a series of images of the complex and they want to apply it to other markets and buildings in Lima.

We also presented a huaca-inspired setback design for a building on a street called Ancash, also in Barrios Altos. Here the city had proposed saving a facade and adding a new 4-story building on the back of the site. We proposed a series of ziggurat-stepped gardens that would actually increase the amount of space for apartments without disturbing the historic sight lines of the original facade.


We also began work this week on several new projects. One is a garden of native Peruvian plants to be incorporated into a regional park, Huiracocha. Another is a green roof for a new housing project, Canete 100, not too far from downtown. A third is the design of iconic but functional market stalls for organic farmer’s markets, like this one we visited in Miraflores:

So I snapped this picture on Sunday and then on Tuesday we go tour the Agricultural University at La Molina and guess who is leading the tour – the same guy, Daniel!

We are also looking at the design of a nocturnal garden at the Teatro Blanca Varela in the beautiful 1929 Parque La Reserva, with its lighted fountain displays. The park includes some lovely original buildings, monuments and sculptures.


And then there is of course the dramatic coastal cliffs, replete with surfers and shopping centers…

Our group has been aided immeasurably by my Global Heritage Fund colleague, Alejandro Camino, D.C., who also maintains a plant museum in Cusco we hope to visit next week. Kudos to my colleagues Frances Whitehead and Douglas Pancoast and of course to the hardworking students in the class and on the trip: Michelle Yuan, Laura Crane, Cassie Rogg, Veronika Diaz, Brooke Ingram,Samantha Alaimo, Sia Khorrami, Danielle Potts, Emily Wallrath, DJ Catrow, Karin Kuroda,Duane Hagerty, Marie Socha,Julie Hess, Dina Khodorkovskaya and Sarah Tietje.

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Lima Day 1

June 9, 2011


Our first day in Lima, Peru was a full one – 9 to 5, most of that in the offices of the Municipality, looking at their new city planning efforts, largely in the realm of greening the city and providing more opportunities for urban agriculture, under the leadership of our colleagues Gunther Merzthal and Anna Zuchetti. The project began with my SAIC colleague Frances Whitehead, who came here last January to work on urban agriculture projects. When she discovered that the center of Lima – an area known as the “Cercado” for the now-vanished city wall – is a World Heritage Site, she brought me into the project along with Douglas Pancoast of our Architecture Interior Architecture and Designed Objects program. Part of the Cercado is of course the Plaza de Armas, which is spectacular in that distinctively Colonial Baroque style found throughout the Spanish Americas.

Archbsihop’s Palace, Plaza de Armas

Detail, Palacio de Gobierno

Detail, Archbishop’s Palace

Palacio de Gobierno
The most distinctive feature of Lima architecture is the balcony, these wonderful wooden structures, many of which have been restored in the central area.


We spent a good part of the afternoon in the Cercado, which is largely a poor inner-city area once you get a few blocks away from the banks and the plazas. Much of the area is fairly dangerous, and beyond the historic buildings we visited sites that are prime for new huertas, or agricultural park areas the city hopes to develop. Many of these communities are “gated” in a de facto way, due to the high crime conditions.

Here is one of the huerta sites, with a view to an even more impoverished squatter development on the hill in the background. This is in Casa 4, one of six districts in the Cercado.

Here is another park in Casa 6, an area that runs along the river. It is about to be completed.

And here is the very unfortunate condition of the river along the edge of the park.

One of the nicest parks is the Parque La Muralla, which is centered along the archaeological ruins of the original city wall, which stood for some 200 years (1670-1870, roughly). The park includes an excellent museum of the history of the wall and the city.

And it also has a little petting zoo, so I can prove I was in Peru: Here is a llama

Not that you need to go to Peru to see llamas. You can actually see them on the southwest side of Chicago in an oil refinery along the Sanitary and Ship Canal…..

more tomorrow, when we meet the Mayor…