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Lima urban growth and PREVI situation (source: Time builds, Ed.GG/ 2008, Barcelona)
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The three international winners: Maki-Kurokawa-Kikutake, Herbert Ohl, Atelier 5 (source: Architectural Design 4/ 1970, London)
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Original plot with Master Plan and the 1st phase development (source: Architectural design, 211. May/June 2011)
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Collage of 26 projects into Peter Land Master Plan. See notes 1 and 2 (source: Time builds!, Ed.GG/ 2008, Barcelona)
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Aldo van Eyck project in 1978 and 2003 (source:Time builds!, Ed.GG/ 2008, Barcelona)
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Charles Correa project in 1978 and 2003 (source: Time builds!, Ed.GG/ 2008, Barcelona)
4.7.2012 – Issue 9 - PREVI revisitedRamis TomeuEssays


by Tomeu Ramis

In 1965, the Peruvian Government and the United Nations invited British architect Peter Land to design a strategy for mass housing as an alternative to the massive informal settlements that were dramatically taking place in Lima during that period. In 1966, informal discussions began with the Peruvian Government about the PREVI (Proyecto experimental de vivienda, Experimental Housing Project), and its initial form consisted of four different pilot projects (1). For the first pilot project (PP1) Peter Land proposed the organization of an international competition to design 1,500 housing units(2) on a deserted 40-hectare site north of Lima’s downtown. Thirteen international architects (3) were invited to take part in the competition, and an open national competition was organized for architects in Peru to obtain the same number of competitors (4). The international and national sections were implemented simultaneously, and the PREVI competition for 26 selected competitors was announced in 1969.

The competition brief was based on a series of experimental principles (5):

1. A neighborhood and design based upon the high-density, low-rise concept, a module and model for future urban expansion.
2. A growing house concept , with integral courtyard.
3. Configurations of housing clusters within the neighborhood master plan.
4. An entirely human-scale pedestrian environment in the neighborhood.
5. Improved and new house-building methods with earthquake resistance.
6. An overall neighborhood landscape plan.

The jury (6) met the same year in Lima and, having chosen the six winning projects (the international groups selected were Kikutake-Kurokawa-Maki, Herbert Ohl and Atelier 5), resolved to start working on the construction of the 26 proposals chosen for their very high quality and progressive design. Due to political and economic circumstances, instead of the 1,500 dwellings initially envisaged, the pilot scheme comprised 500 homes, with Peter Land's team drawing up a collage of 20 housing units per architect within a Master Plan defined by him. In a second phase, the best proposals were to develop 1,000 dwellings, but this phase was never implemented. Finally, 24 of the 26 proposals were successfully built. Two projects, by Herbert Ohl from Germany and Takahashi from Peru, were not built due to their technical and material complexities.

The PREVI was designed as a platform for expansion and the gradual adaptation to changing family needs over time. Its evolution and subsequent changes were essentially anticipated in the original design, but 40 years after its construction, the inhabitants have radically transformed the dwellings in programmatic and formal terms. The transformation of the PREVI is the reflection of a dynamic, consolidated, cohesive neighbourhood that is highly relevant today, in the context of the current crisis.

(1)Pilot project 1(PP1); housing design and construction through a national and international competition/ Pilot project 2(PP2); urban renovation and restoration/ Pilot project 3(PP3);plot and services planning/ Pilot project 4(PP4);research o self-building systems in zones affected by earthquakes. Extracted from "Time builds,Ed.GG/ 2008,Bcn.

(2)One or two storeys patio house that could be expanded up to three storeys high, based on a modular design. The built area would be fixed between 60 and 120 square meters.

(3).International participants: i1.James Stirling, i2.Knud Svenssons, i3.Esquerra-Samper-Saenz-Urdaneta, i4.Atelier 5, i5.Toivo Korhonen, i6.Herbert Ohl, i7.Charles Correa, i8.Kikutake-Maki-Kurokawa, i9.Iñiguez de Ozoño-Vazquez de Castro, i10.Hansen-Hatloy, i11.Aldo van Eyck, i12.Candillis-Josic-Woods, i13.Christopher Alexander.

(4).Peruvian participants: p5.Miguel Alvariño, p6.Ernesto Paredes, p7.Miró-Quesada-Williams-Nuñez, p9.Gunther- Seminario, p12.Carlos Morales, p16.Juan Reiser, p18.Eduardo Orrego, p20.Vier-Zanelli, p21.Vella-Bentín-Quiñones-Takahashi, p22.Llanos-Mazzarri, p24.Cooper-Garcia-Bryce-Graña-Nicolini, p25.Chaparro-Ramírez,-Smirnoff-Wyszkowsky, p26.Crousse-Páez-Pérez León.

(5) Extracted from “The Experimental Housing Project (PREVI), Lima: antecedents and ideas” by Peter Land. Time builds!,Ed GG/ 2008, Barcelona)

(6).The jury was composed by: Eduardo Barclay (Peru), José Antonio Coderch (Spain), Halldor Gunnlogson (Denmark), Carl Koch (USA), Peter Land (ONU), Ricardo Malachowski (Peru), Alfredo Perez (Peru), Manuel Valega (Peru), Ernest Weissman (USA), Darío Gonzalez (Peru) and Alvaro Ortega.

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