Peruvian architecture encompasses a wide range of elements: its origins date back to the awe-inspiring structures of the Incas, and later to colonial-era buildings, and finally to Peruvian architects’ transformations based on European styles such as the Baroque and neoclassical.
Its traditions are carried on today by an illustrious group of architects of Peruvian descent that have spread around the world, from Miami to Paris, from Lima to Beijing. Fortunately, a valuable series of examples of Incan architecture remain intact, which was developed until the beginning of the Spanish conquest in 1532. The world-famous city of Macchu Pichu in the peaks of the Andes Mountains and the monumental buildings of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, show the enviable skills of pre-Columbian architects in both design and building construction.
The Spanish conquest gave way to a type of architecture (Viceroyal architecture) that would create an interweaving and co-existence of European styles like Baroque, Renaissance, etc. with the influence of decorative elements characteristic of Peru, resulting in a unique final product. By the middle of the 20th century, a period of modernization and construction emerged in Lima’s historic center which paid little attention to conservation, producing a disappointing time in the architectural history of Peru; fortunately, in 1988 UNESCO declared Lima’s historic center a world heritage site, which inspired a number of laws designed to protect and care for the city’s buildings.
Today, as a result of the movement to conserve Peru’s rich architectural tradition, a series of Peruvian architects are flourishing. These architects have spread beyond the country’s borders, settling and setting up studios in the world’s most important cities. Along with names such as Mario Lara, who lives in Lima, we also find outstanding architects such as Bernardo Fort-Brescia, whose residence and studio are in Miami and Lima, the architect and designer Enrique Ciriani resides in Paris, brother and sister Enrique and Julio Espinosa, the architect and landscapist Maria Lucia Rivera, among many others, who are all creating a distinctive brand of creative, modern, and sustainable Peruvian architecture, recognizable by the historic and cultural heritage that they share.