Three Projects for Machu Picchu

LLONAZAMORA: The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, located in Cusco, is the most iconic site of Peru. This UNESCO historical and cultural heritage of humanity receives 2500 visitors per day. The imminent erosion caused by the high number tourist activity has lead the Peruvian government to promote site conservation strategies. Given this scenario, in 2014 the Ministry of Culture of Peru (MINCUL) and the Decentralized Direction of Culture of Cusco (DDC-Cusco) announced the competition “Architecture Ideas for the interventions in the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu”. The winner proposal belonged to the architect Michelle R. Llona head of the Peruvian architecture firm LLONAZAMORA.

© LLONAZAMORA

Following the competition, in 2016 the MINCUL and DDC-Cusco developed the “Strategic Vision for the New Management of Machu Picchu” report which addresses the conservation objectives and proposes a more comprehensive and sustainable management model,. The new approach seeks to move from a tourist experience based only on the physical tour of the Inca citadel, to the experience of interpreting a larger territory. This meaningful approach connects Machu Picchu with landscape, archaeological and cultural dimensions that involve all its environment.

Within this new management of Machu Picchu, three architectural pieces are key for the development of its main objective: a visitor center, a boulevard and a bridge. The result is an integrated system: an architectural and landscape masterplan that emphasizes the territory and Inca legacy while enhancing the tourist experience from Machu Picchu town (formerly known as Aguas Calientes) to the entrance of the Citadel. These first interventions are expected to ensure the conservation and sustainability of natural and archaeological resources, improve the quality of the visit and promote a more responsible stance from the local population. Furthermore, each of the three different scales of the master plan carefully proposes a particular architecture solution, using specific materials and construction details to face issues of sustainability and durability.

Machu Picchu Visitor Center

© VISTA PREVIA y LLONAZAMORA
© VISTA PREVIA y LLONAZAMORA

The new visitor center will be the gateway to Machu Picchu Archaeological Park (PANMP). The project is located across the Vilcanota River, at the base of the mountain, connected to a series of routes (road, bike and pedestrian paths) leading to the citadel of Machu Picchu or Llaqta. The architectural program is divided and organized into three buildings connected by different plazas. These three structures maintain the proportion suggested by the Inca gables seen in the Llaqta. Therefore the roofs of the buildings are in dialogue with the surrounding landscape. Under the wooden ceilings, a large public program configures the visitor center. It reinforces an experience of interiority that counterbalances the expansiveness of the outside landscape and is meant to prepare the visitors for the mountain top scenario. The exterior architecture extends over the topography framing the existing Inca walls and adding them to existing visitor’s routes. These public spaces serve as linking platforms between the buildings, articulating and integrating the Visitor Center with the landscape that accompanies the route towards the Llaqta.

Boulevard

© LLONAZAMORA
© LLONAZAMORA

The boulevard goes along the Vilcanota River for approximately 2 km, connecting Machu Picchu town with the entry of the PANMP. This pathway is the largest public space in the area. It is built on the top of a complex system of coastal defenses that protect this essential infrastructure. The project defines seven plazas along the route offering resting and meeting spaces for residents and tourists. The project cross section consists of three pathways: the vehicular road, the bike lane (which encourages new forms of tourism and walk for the local population), and the pedestrian path that complements the last two and introduces visitors to the natural landscape. This pathway, full of greenery, is designed based on a series of prefabricated pieces of concrete and Corten steel, which are combined with the cobblestones of granite and other stone elements. The materiality of the boulevard seeks to extend the riverbed atmosphere up to the road, while giving value to the nearby granite quarry in value and integrating the landscape and the vegetation of the place.

Bridge

© LLONAZAMORA
© LLONAZAMORA

The bridge is an ensemble of small scale public spaces, which affirms the final rest point for visitors, after visiting the Llaqta Machu Picchu. It also provides viewpoints to contemplate the archaeological landscape while reinforcing the exit route of the citadel. This structure does not mimic the Inca constructions and it sets itself as far as possible from the archaeological site to place its foundations. The design is based on a Corten steel beam of 74 meters long with only three points of support to allow vegetation to grow and reduce the impact on mountain slopes as possible. This integrated system of interventions seeks to offer an architectural platform that highlights the landscape and the legacy of the Incas, while enhancing the experience of tourists and the relationship with the local community.

Visitor Center:

Architect: Arch. Michelle Llona
Project Manager: Arch. Rafael Zamora, Arch. María Alejandra Linares
Design Team: Arch. Carolina Zegarra, Arch. Sebastián Schwarz, Arch. Karen Vila
Specialties:
– Museography: Arch. Juan Carlos Burga
– Museology: Archaeologist Cecilia Pardo
– Structural Engineering (concrete): Engineer Luis Flores
– Structural Engineering (timber): Arch. Luis Takahashi
– Installation Engineering: JG Engineers
– Lighting: Hilite SAC
– Safety Engineering: Arch. Eddie Tafur
– Environmental conditioning: POGGIONE BIONDI Arquitectos
Location: Region of Cusco, Province of Urubamba, District of Machu Picchu
Constructed area: 9,253.49m2
Client: Ministry of Culture of Peru (MINCUL) and the Decentralized Direction of Culture of Cusco (DDC-Cusco)
Year: 2016

Landscape

Architect: Arch. Rafael Zamora, Arch. María Alejandra Linares
Project Manager: Arch. Claudia Bode
Design Team: Arch. Gabriela Aquije, Arch. Carolina Zegarra, Arch. Sebastián Schwarz, Arch. Karen Vila, Arch. Cristina Bonta
Specialties:
– Agronomical Engineering: Engineer José Palacios
– Tree Nursery: Greenhouse of the Machu Picchu Archaeological Park (PANMP)
– Structural Engineering (concrete): Engineer Luis Flores and Engineer Juan Bariola
– Installation Engineering: JG Engineers
– Lighting: Hilite SAC
– Manufacturer of urban equipment: Escofet S.A.
– Safety Engineering: Arch. Eddie Tafur

Location: Region of Cusco, Province of Urubamba, District of Machu Picchu
Exterior Architecture area: 10,261.01 m2.
Landscape area: 9,843 m2
Client: Ministry of Culture of Peru (MINCUL) and the Decentralized Direction of Culture of Cusco (DDC-Cusco)
Year: 2016

Boulevard:

Architects: LLONAZAMORA. Arch. Michelle Llona, Arch. Rafael Zamora
Project Manager: Arch. Lucia Weilg
Design Team: Arch. María Alejandra Linares, Arch. Carolina Zegarra, Arch. Karen Vila
Location: Region of Cusco, Province of Urubamba, District of Machu Picchu
Constructed area: 27,338.00 m2.
Client: Municipality of Machupicchu
Year: 2015

Bridge:

Architects: LLONAZAMORA. Arch. Michelle Llona, Arch. Rafael Zamora
Project Manager: Arch. Lucia Weilg
Design Team: Arch. María Alejandra Linares, Arch. Carolina Zegarra, Arch. Karen Vila
Structural Engineering: Engineer Luis Flores, Engineer Cesar Aranis García-Rosell
Location: Region of Cusco, Province of Urubamba, District of Machu Picchu
Constructed area: 506.20 m2
Client: Ministry of Culture of Peru (MINCUL) and the Decentralized Direction of Culture of Cusco (DDC-Cusco)
Year: 2015

Image Credit (drawings, diagrams and sketches): Personal file LLONAZAMORA
Image Credit (renders): VISTA PREVIA y LLONAZAMORA

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