History in Tarapoto

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This building located in Tarapoto at the intesection of Bolognesi and Manuela Morey Streets in Tarapoto is typical contruction in Peru. 2006.05.13

This building located in Tarapoto at the intesection of Bolognesi and Manuela Morey Streets in Tarapoto is typical contruction in Peru. 2006.05.13

Jeffrey Maxwell

Architecture in Tarapoto is based on one simple concept -- make it as inexpensive as possible.  Many buildings exist that have been there for well over 100 years.  The basis of these buildings is mud.  Many buildings made of adobe bricks still stand and are in everyday use.  Often times these buildings seem a little disorganized, because no master planning was done over the years.  Just add something on as it is needed.

It is the same today, only most buildings in Tarapoto are made of concrete.  In fact they are sort of engineered cement pole barns of a fashion.  The frame is made of poured cement with re-bar reinforcements for both the upright columns and the cross members.  The sides are open, and are generally filled in later. 

A good illustration of the latter example of building construction is found in a restaurant on the intersetion Yurimaguas and Miraflores Streets in the neighboring town of Banda de Shilcayo.  When this building was built, it was at the level of the streets.  But since the streets have been built up, the first level entrance of the building is now below the street level.  The first two floors are finished and in use. 

The third floor has the framework, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be completed right away.  Building often goes in spurts of activity, based on the financial situation of the owner.  Notice the strips of rebar stick out of the top.  They will stay there, because building owners are always planning to add on to the building they own, as finances permit.  When they have finished out the third floor, and decide to start the fourth floor, the rebar will be very convenient to start the new section.

An important architectural aspect of this building is found all over Peru.  Notice that the second floor is just a little wider than the first, and the third floor hangs out over the second, and the roof (floor of the fourth level) is out even further.  This is an important aspect of construction for a building like this.  If the roof didn't hang over and stop rain from coming into the channel between the front door and the street, the first floor would be constantly flooded in the wet season.  This is the Amazon Rainforest, after all.

Interestingly enough, nearly all the roofs of buildings in metropolitan Tarapoto are metal -- usually corregated steel, like that used in the construction of barns in the United States.  Even some of the best built buildings have metal roofs.  The alternative, cheaper way to put on a roof is with thatched grass.  It is cheaper, but it doesn't last long and has to be redone every few years.  In the outlying areas of Tarapoto are many homes made of various construction, many are adobe with grass roofs, but these materials can be had by the locals just for the cost of transporting them, if neccesary. 

Contributors
December 18, 2006 change by approaching genius (1 point)

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