The archaeological museum, Museo de Sitio Julio C Tello, has been clad in salt-resistant reddish cement that blends in perfectly with the neighbouring red dunes and its polished finish gives it a ceramic-like feel, resembling the pre-Columbian ceramics that are on display inside the building.
Names after explorer Julio C Tello, the museum is based near the Great Paracas Necropolis, which is where Tello discovered burial sites that are more than 2,000 years old. Sitting on the site of its predecessor, the museum celebrates its former geometry, while a deliberate ‘crack’ – a reminder of the earthquake’s destruction – breaks the volume, separating the museum from the conservation spaces, including workshops, meeting rooms and services.
While the former building was cast in stone, this design by Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse is made entirely from pozzolan cement, with only one vibrant blue wall marking the entrance to the building.
A row of four distinctive box-like windows protrude from the wall on the south side of the museum, which have been designed to let in plenty of natural light while protecting the internal spaces from harsh direct sunlight.
The firm recently won a prize for the distinctive architectural design at the XX Bienal Panamericana de Arquitectura de Quito.