How do Incan construction methods influence 21st century architecture in Peru? By: Nicolas Flores, Maria Paula Jaramillo, Sebastian Gonzalez, and Rafaela Gutierrez. (Photo Credit: Nicolas Flores)

Abstract

Photo Credit: nicolas flores

This project is about the investigation of 10th grade students research on the analysis of the Inca architecture and the influence on contemporary architecture in Peru. The investigation began with a deep research in the school of the students, Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito, about the architecture of the Incas and of Peru. After that, the students traveled to Peru and visited the important archeological sites that the Incas made such as Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, and Machu Picchu. The students asked their tour guides about important information about their topic, which was architecture. When they arrived the project continued its course.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Flores

The project will talk about how the Incas used their techniques of having the pieces fit together like a puzzle to construct their buildings. The evidence will confirm or reject the hypothesis of contemporary architecture having the same structure for wall construction and similar building materials compared to Inca architecture. The influence of the Incas in the present day architecture will be shown in this project as well as the analysis of how both architectures are related. The information for this project was found through sources found on Google Scholar and encyclopedias. This project intends to show how the Incas have influenced the society of today in the aspect of architecture demonstrating the evolution of new technologies and connection to the Incas.

Research Question: How do Incan construction methods influence 21st century architecture in Peru?

photo credit:nicolas flores

This question explicitly compares techniques used in Inca construction with present-day architecture found in former Incan territory. The research question is linked to the Incas since an essential factor of the question is Inca construction methods, requiring a study of their architecture, including Machu Picchu. The question can be answered by comparing similarities and differences between Incan building methods and records of 21st century Peruvian architecture. In order to create a complete analysis, multiple pieces of evidence are required that can not be found in one Google search because first Inca architecture needs to be found, followed by the 21st century Peruvian contemporary architecture, and to finalize, analysis is required.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Flores

Hypothesis: Incan construction method influence 21st century architecture in Peru, specifically in terms of techniques used for wall construction and updated but similar building materials.

photo credit: Nicolas flores

This hypothesis completely answers the question because it shows how the Incas influence the modern Peruvian architecture. The Incan buildings that are still in Peru give the architects of the 21st century the opportunity to analyze the methods that were used to make strong buildings and also improve the Inca techniques with materials. As an example we have the method of the rocks bonded together without any gap in between, updated to bricks put together with cement to obtain stronger walls. We can confirm or reject our hypothesis by doing research that shows that the basics of Incan construction have been kept similar for Peruvian architecture in modern day.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Flores

Research Methods: Evidence found through trustworthy sites, such as encyclopedias and sources accessed via Google Scholar, enabled us to determine the influence of Inca construction methods on 21st century architecture in Peru.

The information gathered was found mostly through searching via Google Scholar using keywords such as: Inca constructions, contemporary architecture, peru architecture. These results can be trusted because the articles found with the search tool are exclusively written for academic purposes. With the standard Google search engine, we looked for sites written by trustworthy authors that have university degrees as well as verifiable information, leading us to find online encyclopedias like the Ancient History Encyclopedia. Within these sites, we investigated Incan construction methods and contemporary Peruvian architecture.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Flores

We also conducted field observations in Peru, asking questions to our tour guides, giving us a first hand perspective about Inca construction methods, building materials, and techniques. In archeological sites like Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, and Machu Picchu, we asked what methods the Incas used to construct these structures. These informational interviews, along with photographs taken during the trip, allowed for a more complete analysis.

Conclusions: Peruvian architecture utilizes the basics from Incan architecture and a similar structure, demonstrating Inca architecture is influenced contemporary constructions.

We can confirm our hypothesis because the evidence demonstrates that contemporary architecture in Peru uses the same idea of having all the pieces fit perfectly like a puzzle, similar to the Incas. In present day, Incan construction methods are being adapted to the new technologies and necessities, but keeping the same bases and structure.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Flores

Incan construction methods utilized geometric precision, moreover, their construction methods utilized the surrounding geography to their benefit as structures would be made of straw, leaves, or reeds. Other methods used were matching stones next to each other in such a way that not even a sheet of paper could go between them. In archeological sites such as Machu Picchu the Incas employed polished dry-stone walls, which made their structures stronger (“Architecture of the Inca”, 2016). Techniques such as “Machi Hembrado” were performed a technique which consisted of fitting stones perfectly, “There was nothing to hold the stones in place. Instead, the Inca cut their stones to such precise dimensions that they fit together perfectly” (“Inca Architecture”, 2017). Furthermore, walls that would be inclined to sustain earthquakes, and the walls would move when the earthquake was happening, but when seismic activity ceased, the walls would resettle without the structure falling down (Peters, 2014). Geometric shapes would be found in doorways and in windows, with a variation of designs, while the purpose is unknown, “The most common shape in Inca architecture was the rectangular building without any internal walls and roofed with wooden beams and thatch” (“Architecture of the Inca”, 2016). Walls would usually have a trapezoidal shape in order for the doors and walls to seem higher and thicker than reality, where double or triple jambs could fit. Buildings would be very resistant.

Incan construction methods show an influence on modern architecture because of their common ideas of how constructions should be made and what methods contain. Contemporary architecture in Peru utilizes the most common building technique called platform framing and it is considered, "Far and away the most common way to build a home" (“Construction Methods”, 2015). This technique uses a similar technique to that which the Incas used to build their homes since the materials required are pre-fabricated assembled piece by piece, like a puzzle. Every stone fitting perfectly, without any space in between them, is a technique being applied today in Peru. Architects use this technique in order to start constructing houses, because the perfect match of stones makes a building more resistant, and aesthetically pleasant (Peters, 2014). Constructions today also utilize how tight connections between stones can strengthen a structure, but contemporary architects use lighter stones that are easier to carry (Peters, 2014). There is an influence of Incan construction methods on the present, demonstrating clearly how the Incas have influenced contemporary architecture in Peru.

In conclusion, Inca architecture has immensely influenced Peruvian contemporary architecture demonstrating that the past has a lot of relationship with the present. Knowing about the past can change the perspective of what people have on things in present day. Evolution has being shown through every generation in many aspects, and architecture being one of the most important aspects because having a house is something essential for a human. The roots of houses, ideas, and methods come from the Incas, and that can show humans how important it is to keep investigating about our past and how the Inca empire continues to influence 21st century life.

Works Cited

Architecture of the Incas (07 Nov. 2016). Retrieved February 23, 2017 from https://www.boundless.com/art-history/textbooks/boundless-art-history-textbook/the-americas-after-1300-ce-31/the-incas-193/architecture-of-the-inca-699-7703/

Cartwright, M. (2014, March 13). Inca Architecture. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from http://www.ancient.eu/Inca_Architecture/

Collins, P., & Ackerman, J. S. (2016, April 29). Architecture. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/architecture/Techniques

Construction Methods: What are your options? (2015, January 29). Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://bonestructure.ca/en/articles/construction-methods-what-are-your-options

Flores, N. (2017). Machu Picchu View [Cell Phone Photograph]. Self-published.

Flores, N. (2017). Huayna Picchu [Cell Phone Photograph]. Self-published.

Flores, N. (2017). Cusco View [Cell Phone Photograph]. Self-published.

Flores, N. (2017). Incan Terraces [Cell Phone Photograph]. Self-published.

Flores, N. (2017). Cusco [Cell Phone Photograph]. Self-published.

Flores, N. (2017). Incan Construction [Cell Phone Photograph]. Self-published.

Flores, N. (2017). Machu Picchu [Cell Phone Photograph]. Self-published.

Flores, N. (2017). In Cusco [Cell Phone Photograph]. Self-published.

Flores, N. (2017). Incan Stones [Cell Phone Photograph]. Self-published.

Inca Architecture. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2017 from http://www.about-peru-history.com/inca-architecture.html

Peters, A. (2014, October 20). Ancient Incans Earthquake Proof Walls Inspire These 3-D Printed Modern Structures. Retrieved March 14, 2017 from https://www.fastcoexist.com/3037227/ancient-incans-earthquake-proof-walls-inspire-these-3-d-printed-modern-structures

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