Text description provided by the architects. On the Panamerican Highway, nineteen kilometers south of Lima, there is a mandatory rest stop for truck drivers, which include a gas station, rest areas and food services. EL CAMION is located on one of the corners of this rest stop, in an area of 22.5 x 10m, where it is unfeasible to park. Surrounded by trucks, with constant movement, there is always a new landscape. The restaurant is locked up between trucks; hence the project looked for the creation of an “interior”, providing patios in which truck drivers could rest after extended working hours.
The project proposes a main volume of 20 x 2.5m and 6m in height, that achieves the desired intimacy, while establishing a formal dialogue with the surrounding elements. A big, yet light container emerges within the rest of the trucks in the parking lot. This main element configurates the image of EL CAMION: a wickerwork box that rises over the trucks, visible from the highway. The restaurant´s interior is organized through a sequence of enclosed smaller volumes, interspersed by voids: toilets, patio, an enclosed dining hall (yet to be built), patio, and kitchen.
The materiality distinguishes two systems. First, a system of reinforced masonry painted white for the smaller volumes. Second, a system of Guayaquil cane for the container volume. The box rises up to 6 meters, using the maximum length allowed by the cane. The structure is solved though porches braced by canes in its surrounding, and steel tensors in the interior and roof; all of these bracings are located in the upper section of the space—a table-like structure. The joints between canes, columns, beams, and bracings are made with bolts and fasteners. Moreover, rigidity in the knots is assured by infiltrating concrete in the canes.
After the structural armature, a series guides for the wickerwork are placed with a cane of lesser width. The alternated horizontal displacement of the wickerwork produces a lattice that allows for glimpses of both the interior and exterior of the dining hall.