De patio in Sucre, Bolivia
This was the title of an article in the weekly ECOS of the 26th of August 2012 and referred to presentation of the architect Domingo Izquierdo about this attractive element of the historic houses in the centre of the city of Sucre, which every visitor can discover by just walking around.
The patio responds to the lifestyle in the colonial and republican periods, where a house was shared by different families who carried out important domestic activities in the one or two internal open areas. Fountains and pieces of garden were normal attributes, to convert them into intimate and pleasant places to spend the sunny – warm days that are so frequent in Sucre.
The design of the patio is quite regular: connected with the street by a hallway and surrounded by corridors at two floors, and in a lot of cases with a second hallway to the second patio or orchard. Some houses even counted with a third patio, with stables and an orchard. The kitchen was close to the latter patios. The first patio had the most public function: to receive visitors and as working space. The doors to the street till today remain open most of the day, enabling the people passing by to peek inside.
The corridors around the patio from the Republican period were boarded by rows of pillars, while the earlier colonial ones were more open with the first floor corridor and roofs sustained by wooden posts. The two floors were connected by a small stairway hidden in one of the corners. The ground floor was made of stones. The rooms around the patio were not interconnected, rather were the corridors around the patios used to go from one place to another, putting boundaries to private activities and like insisting on a shared existence among all the inmates of the house. A larger room on the first floor served as reception hall.
All these characteristics you can see and experience in one of the best representative mansions of the republican époque in Sucre, which is Hotel Villa Antigua, where the patio plays a predominant role, even strengthened with the integration of a new central stairway. The second patio is converted in one of the largest garden in the historic city centre with fruit trees and herbs.
The first patio of the hotel: Two floors, surrounded by pillars, with a central fountain and pieces of garden. At the back on the right is the old stairway, still in use to get to the conference hall on the first floor; on the left in the middle the new one.
The second patio is a nice garden to enjoy the vegetation and the birds, with colibris as year round visitors.