colon fountain, managua nicaragua, 2004 glen howard small and roger lewites architects
in the still of the night on july 21 2013 the fountain was torn down. no prior notice given. the government had not maintained the fountain for eight years and everything that could be stolen or broken was enacted. a programed neglect to destroy, marked for death, since many rotundas have been restored by the present government. herty lewites the popular former mayor of managua and opposition candidate for presidency at time of his death was my client and responsible for this fountain for the people. there would have been opposition to the destruction, because the backers of herty lewites had renamed the fountain the herty lewites rotunda. venezuela, the oil provider needed a sacrifice. nothing personal, just politics.
rosario murillo, the president’s wife waved her wand of death and the fountain was gone and the hugo chavez political sign board was erected. what a sad statement of destroying a delightful monument. when built in 2004 (see blog NICARAGUA 4 smallatlarge.com, ) and years after every time i drove around the fountain i was stimulated by the in motion visual excitement. the high point being when the people gathered at night with their friends and kids sitting on the terraced seating. everybody getting a cool blast of air and a visual turn on. a popular stop for demonstrations, the activists running out to the ends of the cantilevers. nobody fell to my knowledge.
the fountain was herty lewites’ propaganda sign as well, but done as a gift to the populous. a thing of beauty, to be cherished and maintained to last forever. the construction fast and affordable, like a movie set, but meant to be maintained and respected. fountains have moving parts that have to be cared for and guarded. all of which the present government is doing for other rotundas.
i looking down last spring from a plane at night, seeing the dynamic glowing plan twisting into the fabric of the city, i contemplated the significance of the north south axis that the colon fountain reinforced. stating my interest last spring, at an architectural conference MUNDANEUM in granada , of restoration of the fountain. a powerful business man backer come forward to say he would put together a group to preserve the fountain. i do not know whether he tried, but the government was dead set to destroy the fountain forever. a couple of other architects at the conference commented on taking pictures of the dynamic fountain in their tour on nicaragua before i met them.
the dismounted fountain on the way out july 22, 2013
fountain gone, plaza stayed july 22, 2013
replacement of fountain-hugo chavez sign board 2013
the chavez vest symbolic of native folklore
the pictures are shown in pairs at different views around the rotunda. first pictures the implemented original fountain the second picture the chavez sign board replacement.
colon fountain, managua nicaragua 2004 glen howard small and roger lewites architects
water off, a major amount of the time
fountain as a children wading pool 2005
neglected rotunda with propaganda tower by the government 2011
neglected rotunda by the government 2011
hugo chavez sign board 2013
the government hugo chavez rotunda having weird steel yellow cartoon trees and small plastic trees sprayed different colors.
my structural engineer of my other projects, saying that the local architects thought the fountain was the best of the monuments i had designed for managua. roger lewites, my former sci-arc student and i were the architects, , kaun lee the structural engineer. i nor roger never were consulted by the present governmental regime for consultation concerning our government projects. there is also the unwritten ethical code of architects contacting original architects about remodels. never hear a peep from the professionals involved.
the terraced base and pond was kept, although for years the pond was criticized for mosquito haven as a failure of the fountain. what would you expect with the filter pump turned off?
rosario murillo has plopped down these steel trees of life and woven lights into them to get the most bang for the buck. she has proceeded to put these trees everywhere throughout nicaragua. the newspapers, recently stating the government planning on putting them in every rotunda in nicaragua. talk about political symbolic propaganda, this out stamps any campaign i have witnessed or read about. nicaragua is famous for its natural beautiful trees, rosario could have easily gone green, and left something for posterity when her reign was over.
just another example of change for the worst. common in history, but personal to me. so be it. you be the judge. you nor the people of nicaragua were given the opportunity to influence history. my gift to nicaragua to uplift the spirit of the populous. for me there was no politics, just designing and building to make people happy and enriched. seeking universal beauty, which was achieved. a brief life ending in tragedy.
colon fountain, managua nicaragua 2004
colon fountain, managua nicaragua 2004
hugo chavez signboard 2013
demonstration for rotunda herty lewites 2009 la prensa newspaper
demonstration for herty lewites rotunda 2009 la prensa newspaper , roger and i trying to rally a save, but when you are up against governmental power in nicaragua, a blurb in the newspaper and a bit of tv coverage is a minor bleep on the radar screen.