Design Studio SS 04



The monolithic Putucusi presents itself as the direct opposite of the Inca city Machu Picchu. In the area of the mountain top a lodge is to be developed for the purpose of a temporary stay, because from here a more than haunting view of the Inca city, respectively the remaining walls, opens up. The place itself also allows the perception of various natural phenomena. Two problems are urgent in such a task. On the one hand, how can one proceed structurally at all in the face of an undoubtedly extremely significant and “mythical” place? And on the other hand, how can the required function of overnight accommodation in such an extreme location be achieved in principle. The desired space requirement profile includes sleeping units, dining as well as cooking facilities. It is not difficult to see that the focus of the program is on the search for conceivably minimal interventions while at the same time fulfilling the set requirement. Considerations for water, food and energy supply should be included.


Required is on the one hand a full-scale plan representation of the project, a model that clarifies the siting and a partial model on a scale of 1:20 that provides information about the spatial design aspects. The four-hour design exercise relates to the development of a unit for six to 8 people. The 8-hour exercise calls for the fulfillment of the space program for approximately 20 double rooms.


From an ideological point of view, the chosen task raises not only questions about living in extreme locations, but also questions about the proper handling of a cultural site of historical significance that can hardly be surpassed. From a pragmatic point of view, however, it is the relatively steep “building site” that comes to the attention of the architect. The already existing basic parameters thus represent both a challenge and a restriction. The top of the mountain to be planned does not allow everything that could be done on the “green meadow”. The majority of the designs therefore clearly set themselves apart from the difficult steep slope situation and form a constructively and functionally distanced unit. Sometimes placed on just a few support points, some seemingly bold building structures are anchored in the rock. In this way, the complex union with the existing topography is avoided and at the same time a kind of respectful distance is maintained. Viewed from a distance, the rock and the extension remain as separate identities and evoke the idea of a possible retraction or dismantling at any time. The developed figures seem to be merely leaned against – ready for removal at any time! Only one of the presented projects seems to want to enter into a conscious unity with the rock. From the possible path of an ascent or descent the design-determining serpentine-like structure of the building is developed, which cuts itself self-confidently into the slope and anchors itself in such a way. The designs in general testify beyond that not only to the strategic handling of a found topography, they thematize to just as high a degree the adventure of being on the mountain. The moment of exposure and the dramatically exaggerated sojourn is not infrequently already found at the center of the idea-finding process. In any case, the figures that crystallize under such aspects seem to want to “land” more than they want to rest on dug-in foundations.