054 / 2013

Plaza de armas

The city of the courtyards. The city’s courtyard.


PHASE: national competition, 2013

SITE: Arequipa, Peru

CLIENT: Municipalidad Provincial de Arequipa (Peru), Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID)



ARCHITECTS: Ana Ábalos, Pablo Llopis, Aldo Facho


If we observe the urban fabric, we find other little voids – the courtyards. Arequipa’s history is deeply linked to its courtyards. The different spaces of the traditional house are gathered around them, and the courtyard is therefore the most important place in the set of buildings. We consider that the “Plaza de Armas” have the same function but on an urban scale. Around the square, the civic life in Arequipa has always taken place. It has been a market, a field hospital, a place for parades … In short, we consider that it is the city’s courtyard.
In order to achieve a new arrangement of this public space that assures an appropriate integration into this historic context, we look back to the courtyards. There are three elements that define its architecture: the predominance of paved areas, with different patterns drawn with round river stones, the tree and the fountain in the center. These are also going to be the elements that will formalize the new square: the different pavements will delimit the living space, the  isotropic grid of trees will guarantee shade, and the Tuturutu, an element that is fundamental in the collective memory, dominates above the center.