Peru | Ventarron

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Project Location:

Ventarron, Peru

Project Partner:

Museo Tumbas Reales de Lambayeque

Project Team:

Ben Spencer, Stephanie Wascha, Keasa Jones, Brian Gerich, Ian Horton, Adine Gavazzi, Nacho Alvo Meneses, Molly Cherney, Jack Heavner and Carol Ravano


Project Description:

In 2007, a temple housing the oldest murals in the Americas (2000 BC) was discovered in the town of Ventarron, Peru. The temple’s unique iconography and clay block construction provide evidence of a previously undocumented civilization; a seminal precursor to complex society in Northern Peru. For a National Geographic article on the discovery visit here.


Working in partnership with the Ventarron community, Architects Without Borders – Seattle designed a bamboo roof structure to protect the temple and developing a master plan for the town.  The roof structure will prevent climatic degradation of the site contribute to the resilience of local ecosystems and serve as a catalyst for the growth of a community-based tourism industry. Its design incorporates a rainwater catchment system to irrigate nearby demonstration gardens and provide non-potable water to the town. Solar panels will be used to power a water pump, site lighting and general operations.


Archeologists on site have engaged many of Ventarron’s community members in the temple’s excavation – empowering them as stewards of their cultural heritage. Following a similar ethic, the design and planning processes will rely heavily upon local knowledge and community contribution. Building projects will be constructed by community members, from locally sourced materials. Current plans include a museum, a community center, a clinic, schools, a central plaza, demonstration gardens, water supply and sanitation infrastructure.


To date, this project has been a successful cooperative venture between the citizens of Ventarron, archeologists at the Tumbas Reales Museum of Lambayeque, and volunteers at Architects w/o Borders – Seattle. While the project was put on pause for a couple of years by the community due to competing priorities, they are now able to turn their attention to the project again. AWB’s new Project Manager for Peru, Jill Fortuna, will be looking into working with the community of Ventarron in 2014 to re-engage the project.


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