Sandra Barclay & Jean Pierre Crousse, “Transversal Grounds”

A bronze-colored building sits in a desert landscape.

Museo Paracas, Ica, Peru. (c) Barclay & Crousse

Event Information
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Event Description

Architectural practice in South America is often defined by uncertainty, scarcity, and discontinuity in the design and construction processes. New fields of action must be found in the openings and cracks of instability to root architecture in new forms of meaning-building.

The design research led by Barclay & Crousse focuses on the power of imperfection, memory, and the archaic found at the crossroads between landscape, climate, and architecture. The topological approach of their buildings and projects combines a resolutely contemporary design with a careful and open-minded search for the meaningful local conditions that root them in Peruvian society as an act of stubborn resistance to standardization and stereotypes.

In Transversal Grounds, they follow the traces of Alexander Von Humboldt, the scientist who realized that the section, and not the plan, is the only way to understand the Central Andes region. Their journey from the barren landscapes of the desert coast through the steep Mountain range into the Amazon jungle helped them rethink architecture challenges from geographical and cultural conditions. The projects done in the last years through this territorial section understand architecture as a sensitive way of adding meaning to the cultural construction of our environment.


Black and white image of Sandra Barclay and Jean-Pierre Crousse.Founded in Paris in 1994, Barclay & Crousse Architecture has been based in Lima, Peru, since 2006. The studio manages a wide range of programs on a transcontinental basis, leading a design laboratory that explores the bonds between landscape, climate, and architecture. Their work challenges common notions about technology, usage, and well-being that can inform and be pertinent in a global context from specific conditions of developing countries. 

Barclay & Crousse was awarded the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize 2018 by IIT Chicago, the Oscar Niemeyer Prize 2016 for Latin American Architecture, the Peruvian National Prize of Architecture in 2014 and 2018, and the Latin America Prize 2013, given by the International Committee of Architectural Critics (CICA). Barclay and Crousse were curators of the Peruvian Pavilion at the 15th Venice Biennale, 2016, which obtained the Jury’s Special Mention. Their lecture building for the University of Piura was exhibited at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, 2018. 

Barclay currently teaches at the PUCP, Lima, and is a Harvard GSD visiting professor. She received the 2018 Woman in Architecture Award from the London-based Architects’ Journal and Architectural Review.  She is an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a member of the Jury for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, 2021. 

Crousse is director of the Master Program in Architecture at the PUCP, Lima. He is a visiting professor at the Harvard GSD. He has been a Curatorial advisor for Peru, for the MoMA exhibition “Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980”, 2015, and member of the jury for the MCHAP Prize, Chicago, 2016.  He is a foreign member of the French Académie d’Architecture.  He is the author of “Landscape in Central Andes” (PUCP, 2020) and editor of “Urban Black Holes” (PCP, 2017) 

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