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Machu Picchu & Sacred Valley Explora Lodge

José Cruz Ovalle & Associates

Huayllabamba, Peru

January 2018


José Cruz Ovalle


Ana Turell Sánchez-Calvo, Hernán Cruz Somavia, Alberto González-Capitel Martorell, Jorge González


Explora Chile S.A., Melisa Linarello (Legal Representative)


Roland Halbe


The work is located precisely in the encounter between the sloped plane of the mountain and the horizontals of the different terraces; between the walls of the ancient Inca terraces and the cultivated countryside, against the distance of the high snow-capped peaks to the north.

This location between the sloped plane of the mountain and the horizontal of the Inca terraces generates a thickness, which is shaped through these elongated courtyards and wooden galleries in order to create a promenade that accompanies the rhythm of the Inca terraces, so that the horizontal always guards the vertical. A promenade that, in contrast to a street, incorporates a transversal dimension in addition to its longitudinal nature; hence these slight turns between the built bodies, creating this transversal dimension and allowing them to appear from their foreshortening, with a certain slenderness that makes this obliged traditional envelope appear lighter.


This work is located in a narrow valley between mountains, within a 35-hectare cultivated field, shaped by Inca terraces and walls, which is an archaeological area. It is proposed that the site remains as a cultivated field, as it has been for centuries.

The Sacred Valley puts us in front of the nature worked by man for centuries, making present that relationship of the Incas with the earth and the cosmos, and with those works of the Spanish foundation in America, such as the ancient Casa Mateo Pumacahua, still standing in this field -where the Spa is located-, built on one of the Inca walls of the platform, as it happens in the city of Cusco.

The architecture of this hotel seeks to resonate with this singular historical presence: that chord between the vertical and the horizontal of terraces and walls, and its relationship between the multiple heights and altitudes, which makes the mountain and the valley coexist, a sort of architectural kingdom invented by the Incas.

Respecting the requirements of the Peruvian National Institute of Culture and local regulations regarding the use of traditional materials of the region and an elementary geometry in the external envelope of the buildings, the architecture of this work, echoing this Inca invention, proposes a spatial conception that can go beyond the merely vernacular.


On the pedestrian path that runs along the base of the mountainside towards the access to the hotel, the first built element that welcomes our steps is the wooden footbridge that leads us to the hotel, allowing us to cross elevated above the Inca walls, to reach a corridor on the upper floor where the entrance is located.

Linked to the courtyards, these raised wooden corridors, with their ramps, walkways and staircases that connect the different built bodies of the hotel and its different levels, accompany the rhythm of the different platforms, giving fluidity to the movement between above and below, and giving an architectural spatiality that anticipates the interiors by making present a certain simultaneity of space and a coexistence between seeing and touching.

This becomes evident in the central body that unfolds its internal emptiness -under that traditional mantle-, to achieve simultaneity of circulations and variety of stopping places, in the proposal of a continuous but not homogeneous space, thanks to the diversity of scales, where the wood balances the visual and tactile dimension, giving a slightly gravitational light that invites to stop and sit down with certain aplomb in the interiors.

The wood, present both in the structure and the cladding, is escorted by other natural materials: the stone and the plastering of walls with earth and natural pigments, all of them opaque materials that avoid any glare and allow the architecture not to burst in, but rather to sit quietly and respectfully within the environment.

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