Invisible | Antonio S. Río Vázquez

Alfred Seiland, In the Canopo of the Villa Adriana, Tivoli (2009)

«In three times the life is divided: in present, past and future. Of these, the present is brevísimo, the doubtful future, the certain past; but this one, that no empire can go back and in that his right lost already the fortune, is the one that the busy ones do not enjoy, for them time is absent to put the eyes in the past thing».

Séneca: Of the briefness of the life

As well as the philosopher divides to the life in three big moments, if we consider to the heritage as something I live, we can apply this triple definition to him, extending and enriching an already complex concept from his origin.

Initially linked to the received inheritance, patri-monium —literally of our parents—, immediately he acquires his vital condition on having transformed in goods that they must administer from the present to guarantee his survival. If, in addition, it is a question of collective goods, his management and preservation becomes more difficult, unleashing new challenges and problems and intermingling the rights and the shared dutie

This common heritage possesses, in each of three moments indicated by Seneca, a differentiated and complementary problematics: The past supposes the problem of the conservation, of being able to receive and value adequately that one that us the previous generations have bequeathed, selecting it and studying it in detail. The present implies the problem of the maintenance, of the use and enjoyment, of the immediate action and also of the starvation. The future brings with it the problem of deciding our own legacy and, in the constructed heritage, also that one that, as architects, we touch more next: the problem of the project, of prefiguring in possible his future existence. In his Allegory of the Heritage, Françoise Choay was warning that this concept should not be understood as a fossil wealth, if not as an active inheritance opposite to the mercantilización and the «museumfication» – to the anchorage in the past-, so extended in our environment.

Marco Polo,  in his tour for The Invisible Cities wisely imagined by Calvino in the homonymous book, does a high place in Maurilia, which he resembles of the following way:

«Not to disappoint the inhabitants it is necessary that the traveler praises the city of the postcards and he her prefers to the present one, though being careful itself to contain inside precise limits his sorrow before the changes: recognizing that the magnificence and Maurilia’s prosperity turned into metropolis, compared with the old woman Maurilia provincial, do not compensate certain lost grace, which nevertheless can be enjoyed now only in the postal old women, whereas before, with the provincial Maurilia in front of the eyes, of funny man one did not see really anything, and much less would see today if Maurilia had remained equal, and that anyhow the metropolis has this attraction more: that across what has managed to be can evoke with nostalgia what was».

What it was. The heritage has served to construct the history, to construct the past. At present, as Horacio Capel,

«besides this function to construct a vision of the past, the heritage serves also to construct the future».

The enormous extension that reaches today this inheritance, with an ubiquitous and polysemic legacy, where they are present the material culture but also the immaterial-saberes, traditions, celebrations ….-, it reveals the difficulties of the collective task which we face. Since in Calvino’s statement, «different cities happen on the same soil and under the same name, which they are born and die without having been known, incommunicable between yes», and our heritage is something increasingly alive, polyhedric and invisibly.

Antonio S. Río Vázquez . Doctor architect
A Coruña. may 2015

Antonio S. Río Vázquez

Antonio S. Río Vázquez (A Coruña, 1981) es arquitecto por la E.T.S.A. de A Coruña, master en Urbanismo y doctor por la Universidade da Coruña. Especializado en teoría y diseño, su línea de trabajo se ha centrado en la investigación y divulgación del patrimonio arquitectónico moderno. Ha desarrollado proyectos de modo independiente y ha colaborado con varios estudios de arquitectura. Es socio fundador de Aroe Arquitectura. Es profesor en el Departamento de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, Urbanismo y Composición de la Universidade da Coruña, y ha sido profesor invitado en la Robert Gordon University de Aberdeen (Reino Unido), en la Universidade do Minho (Portugal) y en la Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza (Italia). Es miembro de la red UEDXX Urbanism of European Dictatorships during the XXth Century, del Grupo de Investigación en Historia de la Arquitectura IALA y del Grupo de Innovación Educativa en Historia de la Arquitectura. Ha formado parte del proyecto de investigación FAME Fotografía y Arquitectura Moderna en España, 1925-1965. Los resultados de sus investigaciones, tanto personales como conjuntas, han servido como aportación a eventos de debate y difusión científica y han sido publicados en libros y revistas.

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