This LegoView was recorded during Restauro 2013, the main event focusing on restoration, so the question was almost due. What does a well known Architect as Ciro Pirondi, director of the Escola da Cidade in São Paulo (Brazil), think about Heritage? The question, as ever, needs to be answered my way, with the bricks. I ask the question to Mr. Pirondi, put the bricks in front of him and let him to play, allowing ideas to connect and to construct a new vision. While he builds, he sings Agua de Marcio ‘It’s a Brazilian very popular song…’ he says smiling, while he builds and enjoys the process. [Watch the Video]
When he is done, I ask him to tell me something about his model, about Heritage.
‘This is an allegory representing a bridge where men should find their balance and seek for a balance with nature… this green’ – he says showing me the green bricks – ‘represents nature’.
And then he goes on ‘I think this is a need for the 21st century’s cities… They need to find a bridge that can bring back the balance between mankind and natural nature…. ‘
The bricks and shapes are detached in his model, the human figure is not connected to any part of the model and I ask him why is that.
‘Yes, men are far from nature. They need to reconnect with it again. Men are building in a rather perverse way with regards to nature. The built nature should seek for a balance with the natural nature and I believe that we need to build this bridge to get closer to nature…’
‘Is this a built bridge or one to be built?’ I ask him.
‘It’s a bridge to be built, that is not built yet. Is the allegory of a bridge to be built to reconnect with nature because this bridge represents the process by which we build ourselves, it’s a bridge towards peace, because when there’s war and violence, we don’t build, we destroy. To build such a peace, we need to construct a bridge with nature. We are exploiting nature in a mindless and absurd way… we should meet nature again, and use it naturally, in harmony…’.
I move on and decide to puzzle him, changing the focus of the discourse and focusing on the black platform that stands out the bridge.
‘I think that in every human construction there is a strong symbolic element. There’s a symbolism in everything that we do. I think that the whole human life is a life made of seduction through symbols. This element stands symbolically between a men and a woman, between a flower and the garden… This is a symbolic element that marks this passage… There’s like a void here, it’s like a passage to let the void to move…’.
I keep looking at Architect Pirondi’s model. And keep wondering how could we build that bridge.
‘Collectively’ he says doubtless. ‘21st century’s constructions are different from those of the 20th century because of the emphasis given to the Architect, who used to see themselves as the big creative genius. But I think that in the 21st century, Architecture will be a big social and collective construction. And this is the way we can build this bridge.’
He is fascinating and talks with passion, though I still want to see Heritage in his model. ‘So, where do you place Heritage in your model?’.
‘The individual is overseeing everything’ – he shows me – ‘because I am a naturally optimist person. So I like to think that individuals are thinking about their path to build this bridge and reconnect with themselves and with nature.’
‘So you mean that the man is Heritage himself or that man builds Heritage?’
‘I think that all human constructions are part of this process. I think that it’s just an illusion to imagine that we can do anything that is not meant to be shared and lived by people. The rest does not count. The rest is just the Architects’ ego. I think that when we design a space, we do it to meet others, we aim at getting closer to others and we shouls design spaces that can enhance and facilitate meetings and sharing…’
Arch. Pirondi focuses on the human presence, hence, I take the human out of his model. ‘And now?’ I ask him.
‘It loses importance. I think that if I take out the human element, what’s left is just a construction. But if you place the human element back, this path is a part of life.’
‘So what if I place it next to nature?’ I ask while moving the little LEGO human figure.
‘I hope that one day mankind will get there. Today is not like this. Today humans are far from there…’ and by saying so, he moves the bricks and amused, he places the human figure back at his place.
‘Can I change the position of the natural elements?’ I ask.
‘They have no order, they are just representations. It’s just an aesthetic idea that represents them there, because they can not be elsewhere. at least, not today. Today they are there.’
‘And no men around..’ I say.
‘No, we are far from nature. We need to evolve and harmonise with nature. Think that in my country, every 8 days a forest as big as a small European country is destroyed… There’s this concept to destroy forests and nature and there’s no awareness of the need to build a new nature that could harmonise with the natural nature. It’s sad. Europe has almost finished and has almost destroyed everything, only a small black forest remains in Germany, and the rest… is gone. If we do not do something, Amazon will disappear…’
He stops. Sadden. How could then we merge this approach to nature to Heritage? Is Heritage something of the present rather than something belonging to the past?
‘This is all about the present and future times. It’s both at the same time. Because if we want to have a future and we believe we can have a future, and I believe so, we all – architects, urbanists, journalists, medical doctors, politicians… – we all need to think, from now, about how can we build this bridge. It’s a very urgent thing.’
I focus again on nature, on those two detached blocks representing the nature. The elements are detached, are multiple…
‘I think that if you look at nature, there’s a common element, an invisible element… there are forces and energies that are in the spaces in between and that embrace and move from one element to the other…’ And by saying so, he shows me those invisible energies with his hands’ movements ‘it’s not necessary for these elements to touch each other. Nature has an invisible force, it’s the strength of animals, the energy of the water…’ his hands move around the little bricks following the energies he is describing. ‘It goes here, moves all around, naturally, unlike what happens in constructions…
The not natural nature, that built by man, can not have interruptions and empty spaces in between, otherwise humans won’t be able to walk around’ – he says showing me how the bridge of his model is a continuous construction. ‘But here, in the nature’ he says pointing me out the two bricks representing the nature ‘we can have interruptions… it’s the wind that moves around and carries the pollen…everything is deeply connected’.
Such a strong image of hope, such an intense description of nature’s power compared to humans’ limits, left me speechless and deeply touched. I could not go on. His vision of Heritage as a matter of present and future and the relation to nature, deeply touched his emotional and passionate side. I asked for Heritage and Niemeyer, but what I had back was a deep emotional reflection, that began with few plastic bricks and has taken us to the invisible energies that we far too often forget about.
Here’s the full length video of the Legoview with Arch. Ciro Pirondi [English Subtitles]