Justin McGuirk’s Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture

Elemental’s houses in Quinta Monroy, Iquique. © Cristóbal Palma

In Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving: “after decades of social and political failure, a new generation has revitalised architecture and urban design in order to address persistent poverty and inequality. Together, these activists, pragmatists and social idealists are performing bold experiments that the rest of the world may learn from.” The following is an excerpt from Radical Cities on PREVI – the great, but all-but-forgotten experimental project in Lima that counted James Stirling and Aldo van Eyck among its contributors.

In a northern suburb of Lima is a housing estate that might have changed the face of cities in the developing world. Its residents go about their lives feeling lucky that they live where they do, but oblivious to the fact that they occupy the last great experiment in social housing. If you drove past it today, you might not even notice it. And yet the Proyecto Experimental de Vivienda – PREVI for short – has a radical pedigree. Some of the best architects of the day slaved over it. Now it is largely forgotten.

B House / Domenack Arquitectos

© Juan Solano

Architects: Domenack Arquitectos
Location: Lima,
Project Architects: Juan Carlos Domenack L., Juan Carlos Domenack C.
Area: 478 sqm
Year: 2008
Photographs: Juan Solano

Tammo Prinz Architects Propose Platonian Tower in Lima

Courtesy of Tammo Prinz Architects

Tammo Prinz’s competition entry for a new residential tower in , Peru, proposes the use of platonian bodies to generate dramatic interior and exterior spaces.

The dodekaeder structure drives the form of the design whilst smaller cubic shapes are strategically placed within this to generate spaces for everyday living. The relationship between these two spatial qualities, of interior and exterior, reveals a series of unique spaces that can be used as an extension of the interior, or as a balcony-like outdoors area.

S House / Domenack Arquitectos

© Juan Solano

Architects: Domenack Arquitectos
Location: ,
Architect In Charge: Juan Carlos Domenack L, Juan Carlos Domenack C
Area: 500 sqm
Year: 2009
Photographs: Juan Solano

BK House / Domenack Arquitectos

© Juan Solano

Architects: Domenack Arquitectos
Location: , Peru
Project Architects: Juan Carlos Domenack L y Juan Carlos Domenack C.
Area: 630 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Juan Solano

MQ Project / Oscar Malaspina + Rodrigo Apolaya + Rosa Aguirre

© Frederick Cooper

Architects: Oscar Malaspina + Rodrigo Apolaya +
Location: Lima,
Area: 480 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Frederick Cooper, Melissa Apolaya

Cristal House / Gómez De La Torre & Guerrero

Courtesy of Gómez De La Torre & Guerrero

Architects: Gómez De La Torre & Guerrero
Location: Playa Señoritas,
Project Architects: María Del Carmen Guerrero Yábar , Enrique Gomez De La Torre
Project Area: 504 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Gómez De La Torre & Guerrero

Surrounded House / 2.8x arquitectos

© Javier Florez

Architects: 2.8x arquitectos
Location: ,
Architects In Charge: Nikolás Briceño, Jaime Sarmiento
Collaborators: Caroline Ore, Erick Bergelund
Area: 410.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Javier Florez

House on the Hill / Jose Orrego

© Juan Solano

Architects:
Location: , Peru
Collaborator: Anahí Bastian
Area: 950 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Juan Solano

In Progress: Place of Remembrance / Barclay & Crousse

© Cristobal Palma

Architects: Barclay & Crousse
Location: , Peru
Project Architects: Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse
Collaborators: Paulo Shimabukuro, Carlos Fernandez, Sebastián Cilloniz, , Mauricio Sialer
Project Area: 4,896 sqm
Project Year: 2014
Photographs: Cristobal Palma

House in Palabritas / Metropolis

© Elsa Ramirez

Architects: Metropolis
Location: Lima,
Architect In Charge:
Design Team: Anahi Bastian
Area: 230 sqm
Year: 2009
Photographs: Elsa Ramirez

Casuarinas’ House / Metropolis

© Juan Solano

Architects: Metropolis
Location: Casuarinas, , Peru
Architect In Charge: José Orrego
Area: 330 sqm
Photographs: Juan Solano

A House Forever / Longhi Architects

© Juan Solano

Architects: Longhi Architects
Location: La Planicie, , Peru
Principal In Charge: Arch. Luis Longhi
Project Team: Arch. Carla Tamariz, Arch. Christian Bottger
Area: 550 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Juan Solano

VIDEO: 40 Years On, The Lessons of PREVI

The students of the MSArch in Landscape and Urbanism program at Woodbury University in San Diego have shared this video on Proyecto Experimental de Vivienda (PREVI): a late 1960s social experiment in Lima, Peru, which, backed by the Peruvian government and the UN, involved the best architects of the day.

The designs, part of the later, more humanist strain of modernism, were intended to allow families – who were used to holding complete control over the construction of their own homes – to appropriate the houses. However, they were also designed to imply how future construction might prevent the proliferation of chaos present in previous slums. The video asks how residents feel about their experimental homes today, questioning the success of this design strategy, 40 years after the project’s completion.

Find out more about the outcome of the PREVI experiment, after the break…

Billboard in Lima Harvests Drinking Water Out of Thin Air

The billboard reads “A panel that produces potable out of air is ingenuity in action.” Courtesy of UTEC.

According to the UN, about 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities within the next 8 years – a human migration that adds more and more strain on cities’ sanitation and resources. One of these many urban centers is Lima, Peru, the second largest desert capital in the world that receives less than 2 inches of rain a year. Despite its nearly nonexistent rainfall, has some of the highest atmospheric humidity anywhere – 98%.

The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) and an ad agency called Mayo DraftFCBand saw great opportunity in this invisible source of water and created a billboard that can capture this humidity and turn it into potable drinking water for nearby residents.

Read on to find out how it’s done.

Malecon Castilla House / David Mutal Arquitectos

© Gonzalo Cáceres

Architects: David Mutal Arquitectos
Location: Lima,
Area: 345 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Gonzalo Cáceres

Barranco No. 436 / JSª

© Sebastián Castillo

Architects: JSª
Location: Barranco, , Perú
Team: Javier Sánchez, Irvine Torres, Francisco de la Concha, Eduardo Zambrano
Area: 540 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Sebastián Castillo

Multipurpose Room for Pius XII Private School / Laboratorio Urbano de Lima + Carmen Rivas Lombardi

Courtesy of + Carmen Rivas Lombardi

Architects: Laboratorio Urbano de – Pablo Díaz Mora + Carmen Rivas Lombardi
Location: Lima, Perú
Year: 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of Laboratorio Urbano de Lima + Carmen Rivas Lombardi