Privado: Tradition, Architecture and Territory in Peru

Complementary Information


Participating students will expand their knowledge of Latin American history, with an emphasis in South America -the former Viceroyalty of Peru- and its role in the shaping of cultural expressions in the region. They will be exposed at first to the conditions and challenges of coastal architecture (where earthquakes and tsunamis are a very pressing concern), and later, for the main part of the program, to the Andean examples in Cusco. There, the students will learn about the local constructive culture through some representative buildings of the city, and through an experience that will consist in the building of a 1:1 scale model of a constructive detail. The students will also prepare a research paper and work in the architectural, technical and photographical study of a selected historical building.

The program works very closely with the local population and especially with the local authorities charged with the protection and conservation of built heritage. This connection means that the work of the program will contribute directly to the actual preservation and respectful transformation of the buildings studied.


The activities in this program are oriented according to three stages of activities: Lectures, academic visits and field work.

  1. a.       Lectures

There will be a number of conferences and lectures about Viceroyal Architecture in Peru, and the historical circumstances that originated it.


Pre-Columbian Peru: culture and territory

Instructor: Dr. Adriana Scaletti (PUCP)

A quick overview of the cultures that populated ancient Peru and their artistic and architectural works, including territorial transformations and intelligent management of natural resources.

History of the Viceroyalty of Peru

Instructor: Dr. Adriana Scaletti (PUCP)

Indispensable context for a better understanding of the enormous endeavor that was the establishment of the Viceroyalty of Peru, one of the biggest and most complex process of all times for the Americas. The transition and clashes with the indigenous cultures, the new political, economical, religious and cultural organization, the timeline of the process itself- all will be introduced as a frame for more particular themes in the following lectures.

Viceroyal Architecture I & II (with complementary field visits)

Instructor: Dr. Adriana Scaletti (PUCP)

Material and spatial characteristics, form and function in religious and civilian buildings typical of the Viceroyalty of Peru, including an overview of the transition from the pre-columbian to the Spanish-influenced architecture and urbanism in the region.

Engineering Intros: Static, Materials’ Science and Historical Structures (with complementary field visits)

Instructor: Dr. Renato Perucchio (University of Rochester, NY)

Fundamental engineering principles and concepts in order to create a basic understanding of the workings of traditional materials and structures in the pre-columbian and viceroyal buildings of Peru.

Cultural Landscapes I & II – (In association with on-site lectures about Pisac, Ollantaytambo and MachuPicchu)

Instructor: Dr. José Canziani (PUCP)

In pre-columbian times, ladscape was an ineludible and important part of architecture, involving working with irrigation and necessary measures to provide adequate farming land, but also following clear ideas of beauty and harmony. Incan settlements such as Pisac, Ollantaytambo or MachuPicchu are perfect examples of these ideals, and would help understand the eminent relevance of the subject in the region.

Constructive elements: wall

Instructor: Arq Roberto Samanez (UNSAAC)

The masonry walls used in Colonial houses, both made of stone and of adobe, their foundations and constructive logic, the bonding types, formats, resistance and physical properties of the types of wall units and mortars used.

Constructive elements: wooden flat ceilings

Instructor: Arq Enrique Estrada (Centro Huama Poma de Ayala)

Types of mezzanines of Viceroyal architecture and the way they have changed in terms of construction during the different periods of their historical process. Students will analyze their construction process, diverse construction components, joints and anchoring types. They will also see the most representative construction details, as well as their most adequate graphic representation.

Constructive elements: roofs

Instructor: Arq Enrique Estrada (Centro Huama Poma de Ayala)

Different construction systems used in the building coverage (trussed rafter and vaults). Students will analyze their construction and assembly process, their different construction components, joints and anchoring types. They will also see the most representative construction details, as well as their most adequate graphic representation.

Constructive elements: Circulation, carpentry and ornamentación                          

Instructor: Arq Enrique Estrada (Centro Huama Poma de Ayala)

Students will see construction details and features of those elements which, despite not having a structural function, contribute to the proper functioning of the building in terms of circulation, privacy, lighting, ventilation and thermal insulation—e.g., stairs, entrance halls, balconies, arcades, windows, doors, etc. They will also deal with ornamental elements that define the image of Viceroyal architecture.

  1. b.      Academic visits

In Lima, students and their instructors will be visiting the most important examples of public and private buildings and spaces in the city, trying to emphasize its cultural relevance in the context of the continent. In Cuzco, visits to the historical center will help the participants understand better, among other things:

  • The most representative buildings of the Andean Viceroyal architecture and its different expressions and types, including religious, residential and public spaces.
  • The evolving urban morphology of a city where the Incan and Spanish conceptions of spatial organization meet and configure a new way of planning.
  • The different uses of public spaces linked to the traditional culture.
  1. c.       Field Work in Cusco

This stage will involve two types of practical work for the course’s participants:

  • Measuring and drafting of the architectural and constructive details (types of masonry, types of vaults, stairs, wood structures and frames, ceilings, etc) of some representative buildings of the city’s Viceroyal history.
  • Preparing of some details on a 1:1 scale (up to a 2 x 2 meter size), to understand fully the process and characteristics of Viceroyal construction.
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Download Syllabus

Lima – Cusco

Time period:

1month/4 weeks

Session Dates:

July 17 – August 6


Number of hours:

180 hours



Language of Instruction:



Dr. Adriana Scaletti   Arch. Renato Manrique   Dr. José Canziani