Architectural week in Puerto Rico runs from September 5th-12th. The CAAPPR has plans many activities to commemorate it. They are also celebrating the 100 years of the ‘Casa González Cuyar’ which is its see. I need to accept that I am not much into architectural activities, but the plans for this week sound interesting. Mostly because they are opening the doors to sometimes forgotten facts about Puerto Rican history.
Many years ago in Puerto Rico, everybody knew who lived next door. When you asked for directions they always told you to pass fulanito’s house and then turn. It was a time when personal relationships were important and when neighbors look after neighbors. Currently, people live between their fences and have little or no contact with their neighbors. Maybe a hi and bye is all the interaction they have for years.
I am guilty of this, no matter that I do not live in Puerto Rico. I know the neighbors are always talking and that I cannot get away from that without being rude. I prefer to stay at the house and pretend nobody is outside. And that is one of the many reasons these traditions have died in many areas. People lose their contact with humanity and at the same time, we need to thank architects for the creation of gated communities and eight ft. tall fences.
We need to take into consideration the increase in population. At the same time, these Puerto Rican characteristics could be transferred to the new areas. We just opted for the easy way out. Back then, many of these houses were built as a neighborhood affair. Everyone was an important component into the community development. They took pride of their town and neighborhood.
The celebration of the 100 years of the CAAPPR see allows us to go back and think about the importance of knowing the story of the place in where we are and the ones in which we grew up. The necessity for historical restoration and conservation. Together with the necessity of personal interaction and better living facilities for those in need. Architecture is not about the biggest building, is about its inhabitants.