Lima Civic Centre (1966-1970). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Lima Civic Centre (1966-1970). Image © Nicolás Valencia

As tends to occur in various Latin American capitals, the historical center of Lima —also known as Cercado de Lima— faces simultaneous processes of deterioration, conservation and transformation. Wandering through its streets, its neo-colonial and republican architecture mixes with some major architectural projects which came about during Peru’s modernist movement: “golden age” of public architecture during the mid 20th century.

In 1947, the invasion of Agrupación Espacio, the remodeling Lima’s Plaza de Armas and the widening of streets such as Tacna Avenue and Wilson Avenue kickstarted Peru’s entrance into the modern movement. In Lima’s historic center the works of Enrique Seoane Ros and Walter Weberhofer introduced a new formal and structural language to the streets, with projects that reveal the city’s structural elements, functional designs, windows, terraces and commercial buildings, exemplified by an optimistic vision of the future. Despite initial reluctance, all of these projects were backed by a state that enthusiastically focused on planning for over two decades in the design of its cities and the construction of large neighborhood units, such as PREVI and the San Felipe Residential.

Architects Alejandra Acevedo and Michelle Llona explain that despite its undisputed legacy, the modernist movement in Peru is not legally protected. As authors of the important text CAMMP, the two aforementioned architects authored a book that informed the approach of this article. In this new addition to our Spanish-language guides of modern Latin American architecture, we present 16 historical projects from the historic center of Lima, complete with a map and suggestion for a 3-hour walking tour.

Reiser y Curioni Building / Héctor Velarde (1941)
Jirón (Jr.) Junín 330


Reiser y Curioni Building / Héctor Velarde (1941). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Reiser y Curioni Building / Héctor Velarde (1941). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Wilson Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1945-1946)

Garcilazo de la Vega con Jr. Rufino Torrico


Wilson Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1945-1946). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Wilson Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1945-1946). Image © Nicolás Valencia

La Fénix Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1945-1948)
Jr. Rufino Torrico 981


La Fénix Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1945-1948). Image © Nicolás Valencia

La Fénix Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1945-1948). Image © Nicolás Valencia

La Nacional Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1947-1948)
Jr. Camaná 615


La Nacional Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1947-1948). Image © Nicolás Valencia

La Nacional Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1947-1948). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Ostolaza Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1951-1953)
Tacna con Huancavelica


Ostolaza Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1951-1953). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Ostolaza Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1951-1953). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Hotel Maury / Héctor Velarde (1954)
Jr. Ucayali 201


Hotel Maury / Héctor Velarde (1954). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Hotel Maury / Héctor Velarde (1954). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Peruano-Suiza Insurance Company / Teodoro Cron (1955)
Jr. Camaná 370


Peruano-Suiza Insurance Company / Teodoro Cron (1955). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Peruano-Suiza Insurance Company / Teodoro Cron (1955). Image © Nicolás Valencia



Atlas Building / Walter Weberhofer + José Álvarez Calderón (1953-1955)
Cailloma con Huancavelica


Atlas Building / Walter Weberhofer + José Álvarez Calderón (1953-1955). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Atlas Building / Walter Weberhofer + José Álvarez Calderón (1953-1955). Image © Nicolás Valencia

San Reynaldo Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1954-1956)
Tacna Avenue 327


San Reynaldo Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1954-1956). Image © Nicolás Valencia

San Reynaldo Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1954-1956). Image © Nicolás Valencia

(Ex) Ministry of Education / Enrique Seoane Ros (1951-1956)
Nicolás de Piérola Avenue on the corner of Abancay Avenue 


Ministry of Education / Enrique Seoane Ros (1951-1956). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Ministry of Education / Enrique Seoane Ros (1951-1956). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Hotel Savoy / Mario Bianco (1954-1957)
Jr. Cailloma 224


Hotel Savoy / Mario Bianco (1954-1957). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Hotel Savoy / Mario Bianco (1954-1957). Image © Nicolás Valencia

El Sol Insurance Building /  Enrique Seoane Ros (1956-1958)
Nicolás de Piérola Avenue on the corner of Camaná


El Sol Insurance Building /  Enrique Seoane Ros (1956-1958). Image © Nicolás Valencia

El Sol Insurance Building / Enrique Seoane Ros (1956-1958). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Tauro Cinema / Walter Weberhofer (1958)
Washington street on the corner of Delgado


Cinema Tauro / Walter Weberhofer (1958). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Cinema Tauro / Walter Weberhofer (1958). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Capurro Building / Luis Benites (1959)
Jr. Rufino Torrico 835


Capurro Building / Luis Benites (1959). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Capurro Building / Luis Benites (1959). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Wiese Bank / Enrique Seoane Ros (1957-1965)
Cusco 245


Wiese Bank / Enrique Seoane Ros (1957-1965). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Wiese Bank / Enrique Seoane Ros (1957-1965). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Lima Civic Centre / Adolfo Córdova + Jacques Crousse + José García Bryce + Miguel Ángel Llona + Guillermo Málaga + Oswaldo Núñez + Simón Ortiz + Jorge Páez + Ricardo Pérez León + Carlos Williams (1966-1970)
Garcilaso de la Vega 1337


Lima Civic Centre (1966-1970). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Lima Civic Centre (1966-1970). Image © Nicolás Valencia

Special thanks to José Miguel Victoria, who suggested the first architectural route in the historic center of Lima; Gleen Goicochea, Luis Castro, Henry Cárdenas, Alejandro Ochoa and Enrique Llatas.

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