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Lobitos, Piura (2011)
Preliminary design, in collaboration with RE

At the start of the twentieth century, a British oil company established one of the earliest oil towns in the world: Lobitos. It was a carefully planned village, so fully equipped, that it included South America’s first cinema-theatre. Despite its heritage value, a marginal military camp occupied it from the 1970s. Since then, it has been massively dismantled and few of the buildings still stand in ruins: a ghost town. 
This area in the Peruvian north coast boasts attractions like ’the world’s largest marlins’ and ‘the perfect wave’, thus becoming a mecca for anglers and surfers. While government now wants to sell the land for real estate business, locally established squatters, surfers and fishermen oppose: big hotel investors or small surf camps? Preserving monuments or building new ones? English or contemporary style? Turning Lobitos into a town or a resort? We think there is no reason to choose between apparent dichotomies. Why not devise a model that ensures diversity and a multiplicity of options? No tabula rasa. If there is going to be a new layer in the history of Lobitos, it must consider the existing strata.
By taking advantage of the tourist boom of the region, with its relative isolation, its calm sea and the character that its historical buildings confer, Lobitos could be transformed into an idyllic destination. A contrast to the surrounding destinations, such as Máncora, Punta Sal and Organos, that have a segregated, boisterous and unbridled character. We worked on a master plan that started with the restoration of heritage buildings and public spaces, injecting them with new urban qualities that would enrich the existing infrastructure. This was further enhanced by weaving in a new set of built volumes to accommodate the necessary services for a diverse contemporary development: surf and rest tourism, fishing (artisanal and sport), water sports, events, study and research centres and of course, permanent residences. With all this, Lobitos could become an exemplary and beautiful town; a model of spatial and social integration.

DESIGN TEAM: 51-1 (César Becerra, Manuel de Rivero, Fernando Puente Arnao with Martín Cajade, Andrea Otero) +RE (Esteban Varela y Martin Delgado)

SURFACE: 74 hectares LOCATION: Lobitos, Piura, Peru  YEAR: 2011
CLIENT: Shamrock
© 51-1 Arquitectos.

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