Each architect and construction crew took primary responsibility
for one or more buildings.
a result, although our whole team shared basic concepts, each building
had its own special quality and flavor.
picture reminds me of when we first said we wanted to preserve
the trees. The normal procedure was to bulldoze everything
and clear the site. The architects said that even if we
got our plan approved with the trees, the construction workers
would cut them.
of the architects told me a story. He had been working on
the plan for a new community. One day Fidel came to visit
them. They explained their plans at length to Fidel.
He listened. When they were finished he said, "I just
want to ask you for one thing." He pointed to a tree
and said, "Save this tree." The architects
were eager to comply. They modified their plans and even
designed a small plaza around the tree. While the plaza
was being built, they came out one day and found the tree had
been cut down. It was not an encouraging story.
71. Arborist, Berrayarza, examining a tree.
at Las Arboledas we succeeded in preserving the trees. It
is one of many instances where I discovered the importance
of our decision and commitment to involving the construction
workers as part of our creative force.
left Cuba just before construction started. I returned when
the first grading and layout for foundations was being done.
I wasn't sure what I would find on my return. Trees leveled
and cleared away for the convenience of equipment? I came
out to the site and noticed extensive grading and other work,
but the trees were all intact. I walked up to a construction
worker who I didn't know and said, "I see you are protecting
the trees." He said, "Yes, that is why this is
called Las Arboledas (the woods)." He had a clear vision
of this concept for the project and had incorporated it into his
attitude and intention for his work.
you can see heavy equipment maneuvering around the trees.
I was watching this dump truck dump its load. The large truck
was guided in amongst the trees. As the bed raised up to dump
it came close to one of the branches. Rather than let the
truck break the branch, one of the workers climbed up the bed of
the truck to get it out of the way. He didn't cut it, as I
had often seen workers do on other jobs, instead he pushed it gently
out of the way until the load was dumped, and then let it come back
hoc barriers were set up to protect trees.
anything, the care of the construction crews in preserving the trees
was excessive. They built 5 story buildings within a few meters
of large trees.
the buildings were complete you could walk up to the 3rd story balcony,
reach out and pick a mango.
the trees proved to be much more important than we originally imagined.
Perhaps that is because it was a concrete step in the process of
respect: respect for what exists, trees, people, buildings,
animals, the sun.. Buildings were placed more sensitively,
construction was done more carefully. It seemed that
many activities, in both design and construction, were handled with
more attention and sensitivity.
the trees also carried the thought: don't discard anything, don't