A Room for Archaeologists and Kids





Beginning in June 2018, some forty‑five students from Zurich and Lima led by Guillaume Othenin-Girard (ETH Zurich) and Vincent Juillerat (PUCP) worked together to produce a structure in the heart of the archaeological landscape of Pachacamac, Peru. The project was the culmination of a half‑year collaboration between Studio Tom Emerson of D-ARCH, ETH Zurich and Taller 5 of the Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, PUCP Lima, at the invitation of Denise Pozzi-Escot, the director of the Museum of Pachacamac.

In this new structure, archaeologists make their first examination of artefacts emerging from the digs, shaded from the punishing Andean sun and in view of passing visitors and school children, who in turn, perform their own exploration in the sandpits across the courtyard. At each end, new finds are stored in rooms enclosed by woven cane walls before being transferred to the museum for permanent conservation. The structure was collaboratively designed and constructed by the students in three weeks in June and July, following a joint research project over several months that produced a new topological survey of the territory: the Pachacamac Atlas.

The reality of a landscape changes according to the perceptions of time and memory that underlie it. The visual essay that follows is an attempt to recall the intuitive relationships and invisible links arising from the superimposition of the Atlas onto the processes of design and construction. The collective knowledge gathered over the course of the territorial survey draws an understanding of the place which is larger than the ancient sanctuary per se – unveiling ways of making and the material flows between humankind and the environment on various scales. This methodology of survey drawing reveals the inherent capacity of the architecture student to think both as a maker and a territorial agent, thus triggering an awareness of the designer’s social and environmental responsibilities within the design and construction process.


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