Dry Productive Forest: Gatherer communities of 'Algarrobas'

Site intervention
Housing unit perspective section
Current situation and proposal
Dispersed urban system diagram
Masterplan of the area to be reforested and communities
Cluster housing plan
Axonometric diagram of the community surrounded of the dry forest
Family courtyard
Social area: dinning room
Kitchen and housework area
Access to family courtyard
Exploded axonometric constructive diagram

Primary Author

  • Paola Lorena Liza Hernández




  • Renato Manrique Garcia (Academic secretary)


  • Reynaldo Ledgard


The equatorial dry forest is an ecosystem located along the north coast of Peru. It constitutes the main formation of natural vegetation at the coastal strip and its conservation is important because of its role as regulator agent of the desert, achieved through its main species: the Algarrobo tree. This tree reduces desertification and is used as a resource for the development of more than 45 000 rural families. However, this ecosystem has been endangered by its own inhabitants who haven't found a substantial value within the forest which guarantees a stable income for them. To achieve its conservation, the project proposes a new economic dynamic around a product derived from the fruit of the Algarrobo tree: ethanol. Currently, the market for this product generates an income of more than $85 000 000 for the country annually. Furthermore, there is a current interest in investment projects based on ethanol produced from sugar cane at Lambayeque, such as Intipuquio, which will enable 12 000 hectares of land for sugarcane cultivation. However, sugarcane cultivation is not sustainable because of the excessive consumption of water it requires, which is not coherent with the desertic conditions of the place. Thus, the proposal aims to rethink this project, incorporating as main source the fruit of the Algarrobo to generate an economic cycle which includes the population inside the production chain, where communities take on the harvest and selection of the fruit as raw material, in order to be transformed later by the industry.

Project Statement

It is stated that Peru lacks the infrastructure needed in order to keep the ongoing economic growth. For which the studio has the objective of develop projects around real opportunities offered by political, cultural and economic context of the country, taking in account the territorial scale, integration with landscape, a multidisciplinary analysis and internationalization of research. The project has the possibility to be tackled all along the Peruvian territory, including urban and rural areas, to provide coherent solutions to every natural region. It shouldn’t be understood as only an architectural intervention at a particular place surrounded by an immediate context, but as a systematically connected part within the landscape, within a territory and within a global reality. Thus generating opportunities for the profession where no one expect the presence of an architect, breaking the traditional role given to Peruvian architecture by local society, and establishing the bases for the transformation of the country into a more sustainable one.

Project Description

The project is located near the Cajascal River in Olmos, where it takes advantage of the availability of subterranean water, the forest density and its closeness to road infrastructure. The project needs 30 000 hectares of forest, and 5 000 houses in order produce the same amount of ethanol planned to produced annually by the Intipiguio Project. At a territorial scale, a disperse occupation system is proposed due to the harvesting, which will be done manually and by foot. Each ‘forest-community’ unit is dimensioned taking in account the optimal walking distance for a harvester, which is 1 km. Then, 4 of these units are grouped together to promote the interaction between them, placing various nodes with public equipment in each unit. To access to each community, roads are traced to fuse on a main road concluding at the industrial plant of ethanol at the interjection with the Interoceanic Highway. The design of each community is a result of the housing units’ organization to achieve a movement between community spaces at different scales. First, the central community space is placed. Then, the productive patios, where the fruits are selected, and finally, the families’ precinct as the articulator core for the system from the housing units. The housing unit is the result of local necessities, its way of living, climate conditions, water shortage and the use of local traditional materials. Finally, each housing unit is thought as a device to be modified by each family based of its necessities.

Site intervention