Venezuelan architect Fruto Vivas talks with ALBA Ciudad radio journalist Enza García about what must surely be both the proudest and saddest moment of his career: getting the call to build a mausoleum for his beloved president, Hugo Chávez. He gets very emotional about it, choking up at times. The monument was designed and built in record time, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It has mystical significance, too; it’s called the Flower of the Four Elements — Earth, Air, Fire and Water — and the fifth, Spirit, is provided by Chavecito himself. I’ve blogged on it before (photo here). Here’s the story, in a little more depth:
A large team of architects worked day and night on the construction of the Flower of the Four Elements, which guards the sarcophagus of the late president, Hugo Chávez, in the Cuartel de la Montaña.
So says architect Fruto Vivas, interviewed on the VTV program, All Venezuela, where he told of how he built the Chapel of Hope in the Military Hospital in record time during the stay of Comandante Chávez at the medical centre.
Vivas commented that after the death of the revolutionary leader, his services were solicited and, at first, the monument was to be built in three days, but following the extension of the lying-in-state to seven days, it could be constructed with a team which he called extraordinary.
“I proposed that Chávez should be laid to rest atop a flower and a reflecting pool, which they approved. The most beautiful thing about the design was the number of people who worked without resting,” Vivas said.
Vivas revealed that it was the tropical climate of Venezuela that inspired him to propose a flower as the memorial monument. “The construction of the Flower of the Four Elements was the loveliest experience,” he added.
The professional joined in the mourning for the loss of Chávez and emphasized the latter’s political will to improve the lives of all Venezuelans.
“Nobody here would have dreamed that the people could organize communes, functioning popular structures, and that they would have direct responsibility in our formation. That’s the greatest thing about Hugo Chávez — giving power to the people, that’s what we admire,” said Vivas, recalling that there had never before been a president who had held an anti-imperialist position.
“Never before has a president of Venezuela tried to do what Simón Bolívar and José Martí dreamed,” Vivas said.
And for that, an ever-blooming mystical flower is the best monument I can imagine.
Chavecito vive, la lucha sigue.