Though often shrouded in fog, Lima is one of the world’s driest cities, and in the face of chronic drought, people have been building huge structures here for thousands of years. Pre-Incan ruins abound, and 16th-century Spanish colonial architecture mingles with everything built before or since. Today the architecture and design scenes are especially vibrant. Thanks to rich veins of minerals in the Andes, Peru’s economy has been booming for the past six years on exports of copper, zinc, and gold to Asia and North America. Politics have calmed since a leftist insurgency group that torched power lines and bombed the city was defeated a decade ago. A new wealth and stability have combined to give a generation of young Peruvians a chance to focus on building—–be it on the edges of the city’s cliffs or the rocky desert beaches of the Pacific.
We get a guided tour of this city marked as much by its arid climate as its seismic volatility from Jordi Puig, an architect from a Catalan family who grew up in Lima. Puig has designed several prize-winning projects across the city, including a number of restaurants. He also co-hosts a TV show that keeps its eye on Peru’s design scene by interviewing architects in their homes.