ROCEEDINGS OF THE
OMMITTEE OF THE
ONUMENTS ET DES
Of course, we can not accept the excesses of the neocolonial style, which was a reaction againstthe European eclectical models, and was inspired by the viceroyal, and sometimes pre-hispanic,architectural language, as a way of recovering an identity or supposed cultural authenticity.
The writer García Calderón said in 1908: "In the aesthetic history of a nation, imitation is thefirst step in the hard and patient learning process that permits originality in the future" (in P.Belaunde: Peru, the Search for National Roots, 1994).
In the first decades of this century, it was thought that the neocolonial buildings replaced withadvantage, in forms and in materials (brick and concrete), the adobe and quincha originalbuildings, loosing completely the concept of authenticity. For example, in 1944, the l7th centurystone archways and almost all the perimeter of Lima's Main Plaza, including the l8th and l9thcenturies wooden balconies, were demolished in order to build new neo-colonial buildings thatwould express in a "better way" the category of the old viceroyal capital, destroying in this wayone of the urban essences of the city. In Cusco, at the same time, a whole block of the historiccenter, including the old Mint, was demolished to build a hotel in Cusco's neo-colonial style.
After the 1950 earthquake, many of the archways of the Main Square were rebuilt, changing itsproportions, while the wooden balconies on the second floor were unnecessarily redone.
We had to wait in Peru until the diffusion of the Venice Charter s principles in 1965,along withthe foundation of the ICOMOS Peruvian Committee, by one of the persons who signed it,Architect Victor Pimentel, to start the preservation of our cultural heritage "with all the richnessof its authenticity".
This is related to the historical monuments, because in the case of the pre-Hispanic ones, manyarchaeologists, under the influence of the old Mexican School, insisted on rebuilding them,trying to give them authenticity by using the same materials, but falling in hypothesis tocomplete them. This happened in Puruchuco (Lima) and in a small area of Chan Chan (Trujillo).