Incan Trailhead

John Monnat (website)
University of Michigan, Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning
Propositions Studio
Faculty: Ana Maria Duran Calisto (website), Elizabeth Skrisson (website)


Historically the head of a 23,000 km network of trails, Quito was the northern Incan capitol. The trail runs across the site of the new presidential palace and governmental center, in Southern Quito. The Trailhead seeks to preserve and develop the trail as a public amenity, linking Quitenos to a larger environment and South America.

The program consists of several distributed buildings along the trail, constructed of massive recycled masonry blocks. Trail- goers, accessing the top of the site via a guided pathway through surrounding neighborhoods, would come upon this horizontal monument and be given an opportunity to look back out upon the city. There are several programmed and unprogrammed spaces for Quitenos to utilize, and some would offer jobs to nearby residents. Bordering on monumental, the group of buildings house an observatory, a tunnel, an observation post, a market, a museum, and a performance space. The monument looks down upon the new governmental buildings and palace, and would promote movement along the trail, into the perpendicular urban trail net, and into the adjacent park space of the Eplicachima.

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