Archeotecture

Pachacamac House / Longhi Architects

Pachacamac House / Longhi Architects

Pachacamac House / Longhi Architects

You could almost call these buildings archeotecture, or perhaps archeolitecture, because though all three were built recently, they look and feel profoundly archeological. All of them have the mute, mysterious quality of monumental ancient ruins and they produce – for me, anyway – that weird, quiet, prickling-the-back-of-the-neck sensation you sometimes get when viewing something impossibly old. The Ningbo Museum (at bottom) is actually an archeological museum, so it’s not surprising that it mimics an unearthed stone structure, but the other two buildings have no immediate connection to archeology: one is a house in Peru, the other an office in Spain. The building above is the Pachacamac House in Peru by Longhi Architects. The room in the third photo is the master bedroom. The house is a beautiful building, almost an earthwork, extremely sensitive to its environment, and one among many intelligently-thought-out buildings appearing lately in South America. 

SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela / Ensamble Studio

SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela / Ensamble Studio

SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela / Ensamble Studio

The building above is the SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, by the Spanish architectural firm Ensamble Studio. “The great stone wall can be thought of as a monumental sculpture, constructed by the superposition and repetition of prehistoric orders adapted to a Renaissance broken composition. The Mondariz Grey stone facade components appear in one of their purest forms, as irregular ashlars of variable geometry and size, selected directly from the quarry overage, and ordered in permeable strips that manipulate the South light breaking it on the inside. This sculptural content causes the disintegration of the building as such, going beyond its mere symbolic and functional dimension…” 

Ningbo Museum by Wang Shu's Amateur Architecture Studio, by Iwan Baan

Ningbo Museum by Wang Shu's Amateur Architecture Studio, by Iwan Baan

Above, the Ningbo Historic Museum was designed by Wang Shu of Amateur Architecture Studio. Photos by Iwan Baan

Maybe these forms and materials – the simple monumentality, the stone – are a reaction against recent architectural glitz and excess, or maybe they’re the unconscious product of an increasingly apocalyptic environmental imagination that already imagines every building a ruin, or maybe it’s all just coincidence. I’m certain there must be earlier examples of this, but I can’t think of them at the moment. All three buildings were found on the superb archdaily.

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