At around 6pm, Paris time, Notre Dame cathedral caught fire, a disaster covered by CNN and carried by all other TV stations, who interrupted their regular viewing schedule.
Which comes to show the importance of World Heritage Sites and how we all care about iconic cultural symbols.
I couldn’t believe the pain and outrage I felt, as I saw the image of the 800-year-old building engulfed in a blaze. The front twin towers and walls made of stone suffered some damage, I hear, but the wooden interior with extraordinary treasures under it, including the famous organ, priceless religious pictures, relics, and the rosette stained windows, who knows what happened to them, and how much damage they sustained. I suspect a lot.
Did you see the collapse of the spire? That was painful to watch. And I am not even Parisienne.
As the second most famous cathedral in the world, we are emotionally invested in the place because we understand its significance, because we care about beauty, craftsmanship, and tradition and the innate drive we share to leave a mark in this world, to create something of lasting value, and importance.
In the history of buildings, many dreamers shared this innate desire to leave a mark, to make a difference, from the Pharaohs is Egypt, to the love sick Mughal emperor Shah Jahan builder of the Taj Mahal.
On a much smaller scale but still worth a mention, you could say that when American architect Morris Lapidus built his first hotel in Aruba, he built it with a 100-year perspective, he wanted it to go the distance, and last, and serve multiple generations, long after his departure.
We don’t have many iconic buildings in Aruba, except perhaps the California Lighthouse and the two water towers in Oranjestad and San Nicholas, also some other monuments under the umbrella of the Monument Fund.
But that Notre Dame fire should make it clear to us that we care about buildings. All those instantly-shabby new constructions along Sasakiweg, we will NEVER have any emotional attachment to them because they were built for the here and now, with NO historical perspective. The only value they reflect is that of the get rich fast!
With a few exceptions, of course. I recently came across a brochure of a beautiful apartment building, L’aquila Residence, and in talking to the developer Italian-Venezuelan Gabriel Donadi, I realized he cared about the aesthetics of the architecture, inspired by the wings of an eagle – L’aquila means Eagle in Italian. The architectural renderings, he explained, had already won International recognition for sustainability and innovations.
Good. We’re tired of looking at boring buildings.
L’aquila Residence is a modernistic 7 story buildings, with clean, symmetric lines hugged by a honeycomb fence, in both textured and smooth surfaces. The building in turn hugs a pool shaped like a stealth aircraft or a bird, and Gabriel says that between the energy conserving ICF construction and the solar panels, his building represents the latest technologies.
I started with Notre Dame and finished at a condo on Eagle Beach, a journey from the macro to the micro, but I was happy to find a developer who cares to leave a lasting architectural impression. His coffee is good too, in his new, modernistic office building in Eagle, on Schotlandstraat, and I understand his mom Ines, is an expert baker, Dolcissimo, on Instagram.
*from Brainy Quotes.