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Trip Snippet

December 29, 2009

Hey Bloggers! I’m back from my holiday trip to Puerto Rico where I spent a way-too-short week visiting my family. Never thought I was actually going to make it, as my flight left Sunday morning as the blizzard was just coming to an end. However, after what was  a most treacherous day (no cab service to the airport, was told flight left – when it didn’t!!!, wrong seats, sitting onthe tarmac for 3 hours – only to return to the gate because one of the passengers decided she was too scared to fly and wanted OFF the plane- yes all of this really happened), we finally landed on the bright and sunny island of Puerto Rico.

This trip reminded me of my many childhood trips to the island, in which time was spent in the rural area where my family is from. My trips as an adult were more about the big cities and sight seeing. This time around, I spent most of my time on my parent’s farm, where when waking up in the morning, I would drink my coffee and look out unto this vista…

a far cry from the hustle and bustle of NYC – Jessica and I REALLY need to get a client base out here!!! From coffee to bananas, beans and oranges – my parents grow it all on this precious soil. The people in this section of the island – with it’s roots in the sugar cane growing industry and still quite rural in comparison to cities like San Juan, are real naturalists in that they grow most of what they eat and do without the “luxuries” in life. I’m always impressed by how little most of these people have and yet how happy they are. Some of the older wooden homes still remain while houses built in the last 40 years or so have been required to meet hurricane and earthquake standards and so most are constructed of reinforced concrete boasting minimalist architecture.

Wrap around porches are a staple – I mean why wouldn’t they be when the views are amazing???!!

I’d say only in the last few years has color been toned down, but for the most part, color is everywhere – and its BRIGHT! Love it…what a departure from urban gray…

Even the ice cream is colorful! If ever in Lares, Puerto Rico, be sure to stop by the Heladeria de Lares aka Lares Ice Cream Shop – I’ve been going there since I was a kid. They make home made ice cream ranging from simple vanilla to exotic flavors like avocado, rice and sweet potato.

Street signs like these will lead the way to the heladeria…

As notable Puerto Rican architects like Julio Gonzalez Centero and Carlos Delpin continue to push the design envelope, homes are looking more like these…

Check out more on Delpin’s amazing rehab project below here

Simple is the name of the game, with an emphasis on the play of light and material against streamlined forms as opposed to ornate embellishment. The roots of simplicity are grounded on this island – whether on the farm or in city – in the architecture or the way of life. This mind set will definitely serve as a point of reference moving forward into the new year.

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