Pachacámac: A Room for Archaeologists and Kids

A Room for Archaeologists and Kids

Ruins of Pachacamac (Acllahuasi) aerial photograph taken by the Aviation School, date unknown
Aldo van Eyck, Speelplaatsen (Playgrounds), Amsterdam, 1954
Standard sawing diagram stencilled on end of log. photographer and date unknown
Tom Sachs, Cabinet Frontal, 2008-2010
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Neue Nationalgalerie, reflected ceiling plan, 1968

To conclude our half-year collaboration on the Archaeology of the Territory, we will collectively design and build a Room for Archaeologists and Kids. This structure should support the social outreach programme of the archaeologists based at the Museum of Pachacámac and create a lasting legacy for the site.

The first phase of this design and build project will be intense 48-hour design workshop in groups of three. All together, we will survey our site and the available materials. The workshop is a way of exploring the widest field of ideas before coming together around a single strategy. Collectively we will select a project to provide a direction to which can be added aspects of other proposal in to complete the structure. The constraints you are faced with shouldn’t be thought of as barriers but as generators for invention. Intelligent, elegant constructional and structural ideas shall be considered as one of the primary criteria for choosing between the group proposals. Timber is our main structural material. We shall aim to find the poetics of simplicity and repetition in how joints are made. The success of the group proposals will lie in the relationship between the timber structures and the other materials (also potentially structural) found on-site and nearby; such as adobe bricks, esteras and agricultural textiles.

The second phase of this project is the most intellectually and physically demanding — the construction itself. You will have just under three weeks to complete the task. Your workforce is the greatest asset but to organize nearly 40 people to work effectively is challenging. Anticipating the sequence and physicality of work in the first workshop will be as important as any conceptual or aesthetic decision.

We will finish with a celebration: to host an event and dinner together with the archaeologists and the members of the surrounding communities involved in the educational programme of the museum.

The structure will primarily serve as a place for gathering; a sheltered community space that will be host to the programme of events and workshops led by the archaeologists at the Pachacámac Museum. Conceived as an extension of the museum within the sanctuary itself, the new structure should create a space that is well lit and ventilated, and which in time can act as a form of Schaulager that the archaeologists and their workers can use to sort, analyse and display excavated material before it is taken to conservation laboratories inside the museum.

The overall vision is shared by the archaeologists and the director of the Museum, Denise Pozzi-Escot, who plans to adjust the visitor route through the site so that it passes by the new structure, linking it in turn to the on-going archaeological investigations in the territory.

We will use the collective knowledge we have gained from producing the Pachacámac Atlas to think and propose possible programmes together with the archaeologists of the museum and alongside the design of our structure, understood as a direct extension of the museum.

Western Peruvian dove (Zenaida meloda)