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Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos

Roman Bauer Arquitectos / ES ARQUITECTURA atelier

Lima, Lima, Peru

May 2022


Jose Bauer, Augusto Román, and Enrique Santillana (Architects)


Ing. Jorge Avendaño (Structural Engineer), Ing. Urbano Tejada (Structural adobe consultant), Arq. Luis Takahashi (Structural wood consultant), Centro Tierra (Quincha consultants), Chavez Constructores (Constructor


Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos en Lima / Director: Irene Favier


Juan Solano / JAG studio


Implement sustainable practices by repurposing and strengthening the existing monumental mansion, seamlessly integrating it with the new building featuring adaptable spaces
Establish public access and a route from the street to the planned communal spaces, such as the bookstore, library, and cafeteria, extending the public space through the interior of the lot to reveal the mansion's interior and its relationship with the new building surrounding the palm tree.
In terms of volume, was crucial that the design of the new building for the library and offices in the backyard did not disrupt the visual line from the street. This would ensure that the monumental mansion and the two adjacent mansions retained their identity and prominence in the environment.
Resolve the program for the new building on the narrow backyard lot and the impossibility of having windows on the facades facing neighboring lots by applying local strategies.
Highlight the importance of maintaining traditional construction systems as an essential part of the intangible heritage. In terms of bioclimatic performance this traditional tecniques and devices are highly sustainable, utilizing local and natural materials, even the soil of the lot, and enhancing climatic comfort by reducing the use of mechanical ventilation and artificial light during the day.
The design approach for the new building and its integration with the monumental mansion must effectively showcase the values of traditional construction techniques, emphasizing their enhanced efficiency and safety by improving their seismic performance. This should be communicated clearly and pedagogically, employing a distinctly contemporary architectural language.


The project is situated in Barranco's monumental area in Lima, known for its early 20th-century Republican houses constructed using adobe, quincha, and wooden roofs. The project involves extending a heritage house, built in 1899, to accommodate research offices, a new library, bookstore, and cafeteria open to the public. In the backyard of the lot, non-heritage wooden structures could be removed to place the new building in front of a 100-year-old Phoenix palm.
Over time, mud-based systems like quincha and adobe have declined in Lima's architecture due to earthquakes and modern construction methods such as reinforced concrete, affecting the character of traditional neighborhoods. The current challenge for contemporary architecture in these monumental areas is how to make them relevant to the place.
The knowledge gained from traditional constructions over the years is not limited solely to the material components but also encompasses an important intangible aspect: the proper use and combination of these systems, as well as the design strategies applied to respond appropriately and efficiently to the climate and location in which they are situated.
The climate in Lima is temperate throughout the year, with little precipitation and prevailing winds from the south. Colonial and Republican constructions, like the existing house on the property, feature roof devices called "teatinas," designed to illuminate interior spaces and capture the southern breeze for ventilation. Due to the thermal insulation provided by mud walls and the presence of teatinas, these traditional constructions offer efficient climatic comfort throughout the year.


Preserving and strengthening the adobe mansion to enhance its seismic performance, including the wooden truss on lateral access path connecting the street to the backyard, serving as a primary space for public activities.
The backyard floor was lowered for universal accessibility, the excavated soil were reused onsite. Traditional cobblestones were handcrafted for the floor and paint used the original color and is latex-free to allow adobe keep “breathing”.
The library features a double-height reading room with skylights, designed as a flexible space for academic events. Its 80,000 volume´s collection is housed in concrete protective box.
Above this, an opaque quincha volume houses scientific quiet research rooms, naturally lit and ventilated by "teatinas", preserving the heritage mansion's presence discreetly.
The upper structure is supported by wooden frames of quincha panels, carrying a roof fixed on beams of laminated wood post-tensioned with steel cables to cover significant spans efficiently.
Improved quincha consists of intertwined reeds covered with mud, reusing soil from the site, and lightened with straw to reduce weight, offering mixed insulation and thermal inertia properties.
The project values local knowledge, enhancing seismic standards and preserving traditional techniques through collaboration with experts. The masons trained in these methods, ensuring their continuation on future constructions. The pedagogical nature favors the understanding of knowledge applied to construction.
Environmentally, the integration of existing materials reduces impact, with passive bioclimatic mechanisms reducing the need for mechanical ventilation and lighting.
The integration of the two buildings ensures a dynamic space tailored to contemporary needs and surroundings.

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