Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

Elevated light-weight bridges allow for flowing agricultural landscape and unhindered production as well for unexpected views. (source: Alkisti Volonasis and Romila Faye Strub 2020)

Productive urban landscapes as a response to intense urbanisation

+++ Guest page by architects Alkisti Volonasis and Romila Strub +++

Lima 4.0: Territorial fragility as an agent of agricultural innovation
Alkisti Volonasis and Romila Faye Strub,
Masters’ Thesis at Politecnico di Milano’s MSc in Architecture

Over the past 50 years, the city of Lima has undergone a process of rapid urbanisation that has seen millions of people migrating from rural areas to the capital. Widespread urbanisation has deprived the city of much of its natural land, crucial for both agriculture, the environment, and citizen’s wellbeing. This devastating effect is now reaching the natural valley of Lurin, located in the southern periphery of the city and characterised by a strong natural and historical patrimony.

Considering the fragility of the area as something that embodies not only destruction but also regeneration, our project assumes it as a relevant factor for innovation and the development of transformative architectural solutions that may reactivate the strong role that agri-culture has had throughout Peruvian history. The architecture spreads throughout the valley, setting up a strong dialogue with the land while keeping it untouched. The project consists of two layers: the Elevated Built Environment (‘Yachay’) and the Natural Environment (‘Inti-chakra’). The two layers maintain very different and independent languages that, however, dialogue with one another. A more linear language based on a 3-metre grid is introduced for the ‘Yachay’ whereas a more organic approach is implemented for the ‘Inti-chakra’.

Extract of the final site section

Extract of the final site section

Another central idea of the project is the introduction of three separate yet co-dependent buildings with complementary functions that create a circular system related to food education, production and consumption. The Education Building is dedicated to setting up opportunities for visitors to learn about the importance of local food, preserving and enriching the land, managing waste and purifying water. The Production building consists of 4 small labs, dedicated to producing artisanal products such as chocolate, chicha or natural fabric dyes using the local crops cultivated in the landscape. Finally, the Consumption building is a farm-to-table restaurant where the local produce will be consumed, and local products will be displayed. The three elevated buildings function in relation to one another and the natural layer below. In so doing, they create a new centrality in the city; a recreational district that involves an educational component about the agricultural heritage of the area.

The Central Core

The Central Core

Growing out of a desire to preserve the fertile land of the Lurin valley, the project inserts itself as a protective buffer zone along the Antigua Panamericana. However, it does not limit itself to this margin but spreads out in strong dialogue with the landscape. Its ambition is not to maximize the productiveness and thus economic value of the land, but to create a consciousness that gives it a more cultural value. The experience is at the core of the project, creating awareness about the value of this fertile valley in the local community and daily visitors.

Teh Education Building

The Education Building


For more information on Lima 4.0 see this News post.

* This project relates to the categories projects related to the CPUL concept and research on the CPUL concept. It relates to the tags _ International, * urban agriculture, * landscape and * building-integrated agriculture.

Image: Elevated light-weight bridges allow for flowing agricultural landscape and unhindered production as well for unexpected views.


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