Investigation and Analysis of Wood Pathologies in Quincha Construction at Hotel Comercio in Lima, Peru; With Recommendations for Its Treatment

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peruvian architecture
wood conservation
wood identification
insect identification
seismic activity
Historic Preservation and Conservation
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Yamakawa, Rie Silvana

Quincha has been an integral construction system in Peru for over 2,000 years, adapting and evolving along with Peru's development as a nation throughout history. This traditional construction system proved to be extremely efficient in withstanding seismic activity, while being economic, adaptable, and fast to build. Unfortunately, the tradition of building with quincha in urban areas declined over the 20th century until it was lost. As a result, building with quincha has been all but forgotten in Lima today. Although quincha buildings comprise most of the structures in Lima's historic centre, their neglect has caused them to deteriorate and often collapse. This has led to an extensive loss in Lima's cultural heritage, not to mention public safety concerns. This thesis investigates quincha's construction technology in an attempt to safeguard Lima's architectural heritage, to build more sustainable buildings in a hazard-prone environment, and demonstrate that it is in fact, an efficient and reliable construction system when build and maintained properly. This study encompasses archival research, interviews, documentation, laboratory analysis, and pathologies and diagnosis studies. Hotel Comercio, a three-story archetypal example of adobe+quincha construction system, was examined and its conditions were studied in order to investigate the pathologies of wood in quincha and the possible deterioration mechanisms. Wood samples were taken and analyzed macroscopically and microscopically at the Architectural Conservation Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. Wood and insect identification were conducted, and recommendations for conservation and treatment of quincha were explored.

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Suggested Citation: Yamakawa, Rie Silvana (2013). Investigation and Analysis of Wood Pathologies in Quincha Construction at Hotel Comercio in Lima, Peru; With Recommendations for Its Treatment. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
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