Who was Cèsar Manrique
This question constituted during some time a topic of discussion, specially related with his architectural activity, of which some precise knowledge was denied to him. Cesar Manrique never entered in this game; he´d say about himself that he was an artist first and that he expressed himself at every moment with the means he thought opportunistic at any given time. Lanzarote is César Manrique’s most important work of art.
His work and influence have marked the external aspect of the island. The natives say that he has “made” Lanzarote.
Already when César Manrique had studied at the La Laguna University in Tenerife, he had discussions with the students who considered Lanzarote an island full of furze and goat manure. ” For me, it was the most beautiful place on earth and I realize that if they were capable of seeing the island through my eyes, then they would think like me. Since then I made it a point to show Lanzarote to the world”.
Upon his return from the USA in 1964, he started his campaign of awareness with the people of Lanzarote, to respect the style of the Traditional Architecture. He explained to his people that they shouldn’t demolish the houses or the parts of them that were in bad shape to build a garage or to expand using aluminum instead of wood. He also convinced the Government of the Island to ban the use of billboards on the highways and landscape.
César Manrique’s first construction.
César Manrique’s first construction was the grotto of the Jameos del Agua perhaps the most spectacular, with its famous natural Auditorium.
He built a house in the typical Lanzarote style to be used as a model and example, the Casa del Campesino.
His creations, integrated in the natural landscape are notorious for their simplicity. His works are recognized unanimously by the intellectuals as well as the esthetes. As an interior architect he accomplished a harmony of space and volume, an example being the Mirador del Rio.
His desire to live with the volcanic lava led him to build his own house in the Taro de Tahiche. A unique beauty and example of a house integrated amidst nature, building an oasis in the center of a river of petrified bluish-black lava. It would later turn into the La Fundación César Manrique