Advanced Design Studio: Williams/Tsien

Project Description

It is a mass.
It is a mass whose presence is verified through inhabitation.
It is a place where the study of Andean culture is sheltered and nurtured. 

Architecture is often thought of as parts which together form a whole. The center for Andean Studies in Cuzco, Peru works against a series of parts through the carving away from a mass which is the site and building form. The project is at once a divide within the ancient city of Cuzco and a link for the inhabitants to their cultural past. It offers a place for them to synthesize their own history through a learning center and exhibition space.

Within the building, what could be traditionally understood as service spaces are now interwoven with public spaces and programs resisting rigid divisions between public and private until they must divide. The façade is an extension of this carving, reading as a homogeneous wrapper, punctuated by large apertures and smaller ones creating a play between filigree and form. 

In a bustling city where old meets new, the project offers a garden for repose and reflection. Through the garden we enter into the building, internalizing the city through study and development. Through the garden, the public and private are unified by the mass.