Gabriel Ruiz Cabrero draws in all its immensity the first monument in Cordoba 12 ages

La Mezquita piedra a piedra vista
After 30 years of restoration work, Gabriel Ruiz Cabrero architect draws in all its immensity the first monument in Cordoba 12 ages

ELSA Fernández-Santos – Cordova – 31/01/2010 / The Country

Stones also speak. Even those who want to hear them scream. Gabriel Ruiz Cabrero and firmly believe that when you touch a column of the Mosque of Cordoba, where for 30 years is responsible for the restoration and conservation work with his colleague Gabriel Rebollo, unblushingly affirms that this column is not the loving, “this is from the cold and sandy”. Her skin looks smooth granite, but centuries of shadow and slip have soured his character, “is not the cuddly”, tops the architect. Ruiz Cabrero (Madrid, 1946) just met in the book Drawings from the Cathedral of Cordoba. Visions of the Mosque (edited by This Side Up and the Cabildo Catedral de Cordoba) all sections, plans and elevations of the monument as we know it today.

For the first time ever appears every stone, “those seen and those not”, says architect. “I've drawn the building to really know him. Only if you do it with absolute accuracy can answer certain questions, and above all can get to the right questions. We have seen things that simply, if you do not draw, not see”.

Rafael Moneo, that in the preface of the book examines the history and role of architectural drawing, is surprised by the accuracy of the “beautiful plates” Ruiz Cabrero, whom he defines as a privileged guide summarizes a monument like no other in the history of Spain and, therefore, The architecture of. “And our guide”, Moneo added, “has good maps so that we get into the intricate architectural jungle is the Mosque”.

A jungle whose secrets are infinite. What ensures that Ruiz Cabrero, without admitting breaths, enters the labyrinthine history of the Mosque to splash it with anecdotes, intrigues and battles. In Rahman I al eunuch Chafar; Alfonso X the Wise Bishop Alonso Manrique Jorge Manrique's brother and the man who commissioned new works to architect Hernán Ruiz goticista; Marbles who came from Syria, Egypt, Grecia e Italia a la piedra franca (and masons call the area) with which it is built most of the monument. “Today is a cathedral, but yesterday was a mosque and before mosque was a group of temples and Christian buildings”. Ruiz Cabrero defends the mixed character of the place and how precisely its traditions crossing, architectural and construction techniques has safeguarded the horns of history. Cathedral-Mosque or- Cordoba is sacred and what is for many reasons.

The theory that the first Mosque (built by Abd ar-Rahman I) rose above the Basilica of San Vicente is crucial to understanding one of those photos of the pound is not a single textbook: the horseshoe arch. Well, the famous horseshoe arches (admired, imitated and reinterpreted to delirium in temples, mansions and, unfortunately, luxury hotels of course half the world) 'm a Roman invention so as Muslim.

“Where, when and why you get the horseshoe arch is an arduous and exciting issue on which much has been written and will be written about much more”, explains Cabrero. “What is clear is that the techniques and constructive solutions of the first mosque were Roman, as alternating brick and stone. The Muslims built with demolition material, recycled, and it did so with great wisdom. They do not support this theory, but not a national question because nothing is anybody. The horseshoe arch is a Roman technique which had never reached a Roman. It had to be an exotic look, free and uninhibited which reaches the solution we found in the Mosque”.

Recycled Muslims while the Mosque, jokes the expert, is today one of the best museums of Roman columns in the world. Symmetry not obsessed. They did not need with its high sense of decoration.

Ruiz Cabrero lay hold of the book and the pen of the journalist to illustrate this idea and others that just described. A drawing and an outline and so happy. “How I love a class!”, sarcastically admits. Make ready his theories with a “beautiful” Missing letter from Gerardo Diego on a detail “fantastic” of the Bible and return with renewed energy and the path of yellow brick.

“I do not think there Mosque behind the figure of a great architect. I think men of power converged here, artisans, architects, masons, carpenters… the work and findings born from one or the other. They were Christians, Muslims, Jews… They worked together he was always very aware of the idea that this building transcended them all. Years ago I wrote an article about it titled The Great Mosque Mestiza, I forbade, and rightly, sonaba a la jefa del burdel”.

During the last 30 Ruiz Cabrero years has traveled to Cordoba from Madrid at least once a week. At first on a train out after dinner and arriving at five o'clock in the Andalusian city. “I have come to the platform up in pajamas, no kidding. At first I used to stop at a bar, but turned out to be a good idea, so for years I am walking and walking”.

He and his colleague Gabriel Rebollo-known in the city of Manolete and gazpacho as The Gabriels- achieved last December the Prize World Heritage Cities for their 30 years of restoration work. The award highlighted “an intervention model that has served as an international example”.

A Ruiz Cabrero first assignment came with 33 years old. I had to rehabilitate the Patio de Naranjos. “Enrique Perea, my old partner, and I had earned 29 years the competition for the College of Architecture of Seville. That was much publicized because the jury were Aldo Rossi, Rafael Moneo José Antonio Coderch. The building was very modern and so when I commissioned the restoration was much criticism, was young, inexperienced and that building work known as modern as. That was when Gil came Dionisio Hernandez as director of Fine Arts, I had very clear ideas and innovative about what should be the restoration of monuments”. Gil Hernandez recalls from his home in Madrid Viso how that was the time to break out the restoration criteria that had prevailed until then. “Gabriel and Rafael Moneo was chosen to restore the mosque together. Gabriel was younger but work had already recognized. Clearly, was a good choice”. Moneo was then allowed to settle in Spain, Harvard University, but the basics of how should be the restoration of the monument were settled.

Ruiz Cabrero hand started drawing the mosque until he decided to move to your work computer years. “No one has drawn so Mosque”, Bruno says Lara, editor and book designer now published. “Perhaps they are too cold and technical for a layman, but its value is in the detail, in detail”. The book not only reproduces every elevation and section of the building in sheets down, but has its interesting history and conjecture that still surround. The second expansion came with Rahman II, Year 833, in which no large variations were introduced on the original solution. The great innovations came with Alaquén II and his minister, the eunuch Chafar. “The eunuchs were very powerful at that time”, Ruiz Cabrero account. “They were of different types and the caliphs relied heavily on them because they could not leave their wives pregnant. He had no testicles, they were great lovers because they have penises but never ejaculated and then there were those who lost only penis, I had more complicated to placate testosterone. Also, was not the same child who castrated as adults. Being eunuch guaranteed power and social standing so many parents sacrificed their children. In the sonar would so strange. They dreamed of a son today eunuch as a child dreams footballer”.

It is not known what was the powerful eunuch Chafar, but it is known that with it came the air of Baghdad (“New York at the time”) brought poets, writers and craftsmen of Byzantium, under the rule of Emperor Nicephorus Phocas (“What a great name!”) contributed to the incomparable beauty of the mihrab of the Mosque and the paradise that offers only contemplate.

It was at this time that the columns of the mosque with the subtle form of a woven fabric as the horseshoe arch variations reach its peak. And, also, shyly, light enters. And with it, metaphors and the sense of space.

“The Christian prays upward while the Muslim prays in the horizontal direction. Christ says, 'I am the light, the truth and the life '. God enlightens you and that relates the practice of the Christian religion with the vertical. Muslims have no sense of light having Christians, not need”. So the play of shadows of the mosque is so shocking.

White light breaks into the Gothic windows facing the gloom of the rest. “In exchange for the loss of purity is obtained wealth. Beauty is in the contrast. That's one of the great lessons that gives this place and that gives us the story. We are not in a monument, this is a remarkable document”

When the temple was a Muslim was filled with warm carpets. But today the cold creek by relentlessly feet. 1236 is the year of the Christian reconquest of Córdoba and his dedication as a cathedral. Alfonso X required not to touch a stone. In 1489, under the reign of the Catholic Kings, Gothic nave is built. Christian is the first operation.

In 1526, Cruise begins construction commissioning the Bishop Alonso Manrique (ally of Philip the Handsome and Joanna the Mad and confidant of Charles V) the architect Hernán Ruiz. Gothic vaults the end his son Hernán Ruiz II on some walls Renaissance. Ruiz Cabrero looking up invites to discover a golden Gabriel san seems to fly over one of the bodies, a St. George of astonishing simplicity or Virgin Mary too far for the eye of a mortal. “We have recently restored, is the face of a girl, an absolute beauty”.

According to architect, the years have not eroded his relationship with this place. “The building has possessed me, dominated me so that I'm not the architect unprejudiced than before. Somehow I paid a price, I have become more conservative, but in the mind. Find me dominar. No I resist”. Ensures that has not been tired of having stones, let alone talk to them. “When I came here the first time I thought that maybe I had not seen all the mosques of the world, as the great sages, but at least would get mine stone by stone”.

Source: El País

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  1. It is very significant that no mention Gabriel Ruiz to plan anything advertised nightly visits to the Mosque, when it is a matter of absolute hotness these days because it has been presented by its organizers as a milestone in the history of the monument and the promotion of tourism in the city.

    I remember that the official architects, he and his partner, put many drawbacks to the provision of infrastructure that would allow special lighting for the visit.

    It would be interesting to discuss this issue here and if possible collect information on the expert opinion about the fact.

  2. Since a few years ago when I visited the Mosque-Cathedral for the first time (more or less 20) I'm in a similar situation to that of Mr. Ruiz…The building has possessed me, I have mastered so that… I can not help but visit several times each year. I have mastered and although it is difficult to believe, Sleep with him and his surrounding streets often. On occasion I had the strong urge to let me lock night.
    In fact it would be more important not to live to more than 1.000 miles of Córdoba.
    Le congratulate Mr. Ruiz, you have done a good job.

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