Lima-based practice Longhi Architects has completed Pachamac House for a couple of philosophers.
This unique 5,166 square-foot retirement home is located in Pachacamac, an undeveloped region near pre-Inca remains, 60 miles south of Lima, Peru.
Pachamac House by Longhi Architects:
In the old days in Peru the selection of the site for a specific Inca building (use) was the most important action to be taken, only when found the right site is that they follow-up with the intervention which usually was very little in order to produce a great building (Temple of the sun and Temple of the moon in Machu Picchu).
In our days seldom people follow that order usually the “need” comes first and latter the search of the site.
In the case of Pachacamac house I know the order was as in the old days the clients got in love with the site to do something only later on when they learned that it would be the place to spend their last days is that they understood the magnitude of their decision.
Only 40 Km. south of Lima at an undeveloped region near pre-Inca remains is located this small hill surrounded by bigger mountains, perfect site if we follow a Peruvian tradition to always look for a protector or “Apu” in the surroundings. The lack of electricity and water sewage systems in the area helps the visitor find other type of energy transmitted by the place itself which is evident when one walks and feels a special communication with it. This fascinating communication with the earth and its components had been a constant guide for the development of the project.
The job of an architect is that of interpreting the dreams of the client, the most interesting the client is the better opportunities the architect has to do his work.
When as an architect one finds himself interpreting philosophy the results come as fascinating unexpected architecture meaning architecture that is difficult to plan before the beginning of construction, one in which many design decisions take place during construction.
The development of this “process” occurs only when the client gives the architect total freedom to design and build.
The clients for the Pachacamac house are a couple of philosophers now discovering spaces in their house which can transport them to their memories both from their past and from their future.
The intervention in untouched environment at the coast of Peru, have helped me understand that in order to achieve successful architecture in natural sites, it is fundamental to listen to the environment and to establish a relationship with it, this relationship is similar to any other type of relationships between humans, it can be direct, sophisticated, romantic, respectful, sane or insane.
The response to the site was to bury the house inside the hill, trying to create a balanced dialogue between architecture and landscape, where inside / outside becomes a constant interpretation of materiality with a strong sense of protection and appreciation of the dark and the light.
A glass box sticks out of the hill symbolizing architectural intervention on untouched nature.”
Photos by: CHOlon Photography, Elsa Ramirez, Juan Solano