The main plaza from the roof of City Hall
We have been in Lima for a week now with 15 students from our Cultural Futures: Lima class and it has been very successful. We just completed presenting our ideas and designs that were developed during the class and during the last week of hard work in the Municipalidad, which is located right in the center of town on the lovely Plaza des Armas.
With the aid of Gunther Merzthal, the city’s urban agriculture expert, we presented several projects to various agencies and officials. One project we developed during the last semester and revised based on feedback from the Department of the Environment, which is the primary contact in the city administration for our SAIC class. This was a green roof for the City Hall in Lima. They likely were aware of Chicago City Hall’s famed green roof and our students came up with a design that not only integrated social and educational functions but also remained within the sight lines required by the landmarks agency, ProLima, which oversees development in the Cercado, the center of Lima which was inscribed as a World Heritage Site some two decades ago.
Municipal Building – the idea is you can’t see the green roof from the street
Staircase in City Hall
We also presented two new concepts we had developed during the semester, one a “green neighborhood” in Barrios Altos that combined urban agricultural production, new residential units on upper stories, educational programming and potential conversion of behind-the-facade parking into productive green space. The highlight of the green neighborhood design, and the one that excited our hosts in Lima the most, was a redevelopment of this large Brutalist building that houses the municipal market with a large a diverse green roof “techo verde”
The highrise portion is just being used for storage by the merchants in this busy inner-city commercial area, but was once residential. This idea caught everyone’s attention right away and we spent a good portion of this week brainstorming a series of uses for the building from restaurants and food courts to thermal solar units and of course green roofs, made easier by the .5 meter square concrete beams that support the market section. We rendered a series of images of the complex and they want to apply it to other markets and buildings in Lima.
We also presented a huaca-inspired setback design for a building on a street called Ancash, also in Barrios Altos. Here the city had proposed saving a facade and adding a new 4-story building on the back of the site. We proposed a series of ziggurat-stepped gardens that would actually increase the amount of space for apartments without disturbing the historic sight lines of the original facade.
We also began work this week on several new projects. One is a garden of native Peruvian plants to be incorporated into a regional park, Huiracocha. Another is a green roof for a new housing project, Canete 100, not too far from downtown. A third is the design of iconic but functional market stalls for organic farmer’s markets, like this one we visited in Miraflores:
So I snapped this picture on Sunday and then on Tuesday we go tour the Agricultural University at La Molina and guess who is leading the tour – the same guy, Daniel!
We are also looking at the design of a nocturnal garden at the Teatro Blanca Varela in the beautiful 1929 Parque La Reserva, with its lighted fountain displays. The park includes some lovely original buildings, monuments and sculptures.
And then there is of course the dramatic coastal cliffs, replete with surfers and shopping centers…
Our group has been aided immeasurably by my Global Heritage Fund colleague, Alejandro Camino, D.C., who also maintains a plant museum in Cusco we hope to visit next week. Kudos to my colleagues Frances Whitehead and Douglas Pancoast and of course to the hardworking students in the class and on the trip: Michelle Yuan, Laura Crane, Cassie Rogg, Veronika Diaz, Brooke Ingram,Samantha Alaimo, Sia Khorrami, Danielle Potts, Emily Wallrath, DJ Catrow, Karin Kuroda,Duane Hagerty, Marie Socha,Julie Hess, Dina Khodorkovskaya and Sarah Tietje.