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By : Julián Salas and Patricia Lucas

PREVI, Spanish initials for “experimental housing project”, was conceived in Lima in 1967. Among other initiatives, it launched an international architectural competition that led to the construction of a 500-unit compound based on proposals put forward by teams such as Atelier 5, Aldo van Eyck, and Íñiguez de Ozoño and Vázquez de Castro. The forty years that have lapsed in the interim and the ongoing transformation of the homes by their dwellers afford an opportunity to reflect on the suitability of the construction technologies proposed in the competition. Ongoing growth and the rationalisation of construction methods were two of the basic premises underlying the competition. The remodelling that has taken place in the interim stands as proof of the success of the first premise, but the use of traditional techniques to build the additions calls some of the most sophisticated proposals for industrialisation into question. At the time, the tendency was to rely on large-scale industrialisation, as can be seen in the German and Polish architects’ proposals. Nonetheless, many of the PREVI proposals opted for rationalising construction and precasting short series of small elements, rather than huge three-dimensional members. In the situation presently prevailing in Latin America, the viability of some of the technological proposals deployed in the PREVI might be profitably revisited.
Keywords: PREVI, housing, rationalisation, industrialisation, Latin America.

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