A Room for Archaeologists and Kids by Studio Tom Emerson and Taller 5, which won the Dezeen Awards architecture project of the year award, shows that architecture “does not need to be complicated”, says judge Lyndon Neri in this movie.
The wooden pavilion designed to provide shelter for archaeologists won the prestigious architecture project of the year award, as well as being named small building of the year, at Dezeen Awards 2019.
Located in the Peruvian desert, the structure was built next to an archaeological site in Pachacamac, 25 miles southeast of Lima.
Neri, co-founder of Chinese architecture studio Neri&Hu, told Dezeen that the simple structure explores a return to “the core of architecture”.
“The project forces us as architects to think about the notion of making and building,” said Neri. “The idea of a shelter is very simple in its nature, but it pushes us to think that perhaps architecture does not need to be complicated.”
Neri was joined by Sou Fujimoto, Jing Liu, Kunlé Adeyemi and Sonali Rastogi on the architecture master jury, which met in London in September.
Students from Studio Tom Emerson at ETH Zurich and Taller 5 at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) worked with the director of the Museum of Pachacamac in Lima, Denise Pozzi-Esco, to conceive the project.
Led by architects Guillaume Othenin-Girard and Vincent Juillerat, the 45 students built the outdoor structure over three weeks in June 2018. Most of the pavilion was prefabricated and assembled on site.
Studio Tom Emerson’s Othenin-Girard explained to Dezeen that the value of the project is rooted in the coming together of a wide range of groups to design, build and take part in it.
“The aim of this particular project was to make an architecture that is inclusive in terms of the different actors that participate in it, such as the neighbourhood communities, the archaeologists and the students, with this very straightforward methodology of design build,” explained the architect.
Comprising four walkways surrounding a central courtyard, the structure provides shelter for archaeologists making first examinations of artefacts from nearby digs. The two rooms at either end are used as storage facilities.
With a focus on local materials, the rectangular pavilion was built using a tropical wood called tornillo, found in Peru’s rainforests. The walkways are paved with a type of raw brick called adobitos and the walls are made from cane, or caña, cut and woven into panels.
The open-weave canopy, made with the same white polyester textile used in nearby greenhouses, provides archaeologists with both views of the sky and protection from the Andean sun.
The structure’s transparency and openness encourages the nearby community to observe and engage with the archaeologists at work. Workshops for local children are also regularly held in the pavilion.
A Room for Archaeologists and Kids was named architecture project of the year at the Dezeen Awards party held at Ennismore Sessions House in London on 30 October.