Advanced Design Studio: Williams/Tsien

Author(s)

Project Description

Influenced by both the porosity and the walls of the vernacular Andean architecture, this building introduces passageways that welcome the public. Elements recalling the traditional balconies of Cusco mediate these passageways and stitch the massing together.

Cusco is a host of many elements that are unique to the culture and location: long and narrow streets, facades masked by colonial elements above Inka stone foundations, courtyards visible only from small openings on the streets that hide within them unexpected spaces, and, more importantly, the flow of movement and activities that animate the city. This delicate balance between the public and private realms inspired me to design a building that blends within the existing, multilayered urban fabric, while evoking the same energy through the articulation of an inner courtyard.

Cusco has been shaped in many ways for over seven centuries; this has led to the historical anthology that is the modern day city. Throughout all this change and evolution, Cusco has very much remained an inviting city that is porous in nature.  The city was originally built over the Kancha city blocks and later altered by the colonial interior courtyard typology. Cusco offers the dichotomy of not fully showing the interior of the blocks, but remaining accessible to the public at varying degrees. The proposed scheme builds upon this contrast by collaging various activities within the building and calls for a permeable parti that organizes the occupants’ flow, while welcoming the public and the pedestrians to explore the inner articulated courtyard.