César Manrique, 1919-1992

César Manrique

Being born in the Canary Islands myself, I grew up surrounded by Manrique’s influence. It is everywhere; buildings, gardens and swimming pools. There is a before and after Manrique.

He fought very hard against the massive and uncontrolled building-mania during the 60s and 70s in Spain. Particularly in Lanzarote where he was from. Nowadays the beauty of the island is mainly his achievement and nobody else’s.

Manrique died 20 years ago but his legacy is as vivid as when he was around. Building regulations changed in Lanzarote but the influence spread across the rest of the archipelago.

I hope you will enjoy the pictures I’ve selected, and you will feel encouraged to do some research about his work.

I want to start with  The César Manrique Foundation. Please note that this museum is his former house. This amazing building is not carved in the rock but it uses the empty spaces left by the lava once it cooled down.

Fundación César Manrique
Swimming pool at Fundación César Manrique
Lava Detail
Lava steps.

His work is very easily recognised and has been widely imitated. In architecture, no one used the landscape as part of the buildings like he did. Black lava, white walls and crystal clear water. This is Manrique in my mind.

El Mirador del Río is a viewing point in Lanzarote. From this place you can see La Graciosa, a small island just a few miles away.

Mirador del Río
Mirador del Río. Interior detail.

Timanfaya is the National Park in Lanzarore. This devil is its symbol and is everywhere.

Timanfaya National Park

Also in Lanzarote, Manrique designed this cacti garden.

Jardín de Cactus

In Tenerife, Lago Martiánez and Parque Marítimo are public swimming pools. The water is pumped directly from the ocean and the pools have become a major touristic attraction on the island.

Parque Marítimo-Tenerife
Lago Martiánez – Tenerife

No doubt Los Jameos del Agua is one of the most spectacular places to visit in Lanzarote. The access is down quite steep stairs. There is an idilic white swimming pool and an underground auditorium, as always using the empty spaces of the landscape.

Jameos del Agua
Jameos del Agua
Jameos del Agua
Jameos del Agua

This post is my humble attempt to show part of his legacy. Manrique loved nature and loved his island, and that intensity is visible in all the work he left behind. If you want to learn more:

César Manrique Foundation.

Wikipedia.

Lanzarote Tourist Board.

Tenerife Tourist Board.

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