Question

Who designed San Isidro district?

I´ve been told that San Isidro district is one of the few designed by an architect, is that so?

Location

Country: Peru

Answers

Evidence of San Isidro as an area chosen to live (and not only farm) has been found dating back as early as the III century B.C. From that era we may see an irrigation channel which was later called "Huatca" which remains can be found in the Huallamarca Pyramid just a couple of blocks away from San Isidro Golf Club.
That pyramid , other disappeared (an euphemism for `neglected`and `demolished`) pre-Columbian sites gave the area its first 'outline'.
Only three years after the foundation of Lima, the Spanish Empire granted this area of land to Antonio de Rivera, who in 1560, planted the olive trees that today form the olive grove 'forest' (Bosque, as locals call it) of "El Olivar". The plantation of 'San Isidro' as it was called since then, lived its best years until the Independance. The last Count of San Isidro (title granted by the Imperial Spanish court since 1777, when the plantation was acquired by Isidoro de Cortázar y Abarca, first Count of San Isidro) tried to put fire to the plantation house and plantation and cut the trees to prevent their falling in hands of the independentist 'terrorists' (as they were called before winning). That is why you see most of the trees with remains of a wider trunk cut and then the new one that is already 200 years old (how sad never get to see the original size those trees should have now, they are almost 500 years old and still produce...) In 1920, the last owner of the farm, Ms Luisa Paz Soldán, created the San Isidro Urbanizing Company and the area became part of the Miraflores district. (I was myself born in hands of Dr.Delgado -one of the last kids to have that local honor- on the private 'Clinica Delgado', lately demolished, in the area that was in dispute between Miraflores and the new San Isidro for a while)

Soon after, the lots surrounding the olive grove were laid out for building following the design of urbanist and sculptor Manuel Piqueras Cotolí.

Manuel Piqueras Cotolí would be the first professional on urban design laying out a new settlement in Perú. Yes, many religious sites and even cities seem to have been designed earlier, but they were only divided into broad 'areas' (religious area, administrative area, civil area, etc) within which development was 'organic'. The goal in Piqueras design is not that alone but an esthetic experience, views 'proposed' while strolling the paths of the olive tree grove. There was a close colaboration between Piqueras and the architects that, along with him, rose the new district as the only architecturally coherent area Lima knew since viceroyal times (when there were strict guideliness as of heigh and materials, lost since Independance).

And the artist and architect Manuel Piqueras Cotolí would , on its level (not the empirical or religious or military prone one that was applied before) be the first 'urban designer' to have placed his hands in San Isidro

As for earlier times, probably local farmers or fishermen from as early as three thousand years ago (the city of Caral to the north of Lima dates back to 5,000 years ago, so its not that much) decided to live in this area after they noticed it moved less in earthquakes, had a milder weather than higher areas, and was perfect for farming and living.

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