ARQ. PSJ. MARIO PENICHE
Water, the Basis of Landscape
Water has been closely related to the settlement and development of communities.
The birth of our country is associated with an eagle that landed in Texcoco Lake; this image defined the place for the foundation of what we now know as Mexico City.
Ha is a Mayan word that means “water”, since the beginning of times water has been vital for life, is no coincidence that the most important god in the Maya Culture is Chaac, “God of Rain”, the Maya prayed to him for rain and made offerings to ensure it would rain more frequently.
WHICH ROLE DOES WATER PLAY IN LANDSCAPE DESIGN?
As I mentioned before, water is intimately related to life; without water, there is no life. The history of mankind goes hand in hand with the history of architecture; it is bonded to this element, which has diverse effects on human beings: it activates all of our senses, this way we can be amazed by the sound of a waterfall, the river’s rippling waters, the magic silence of a lake or the beautiful sound of waves crashing on the beach. Our sense of sight “fills” when we contemplate a landscape with water; even in the extraordinary reflections of puddles that appear after the rain falls.
The nose feels the proximity of water; it is an indicator we are near the beach. Who can resist the urge of touching water or drinking it? All these things produce fantastic pleasures due to its beauty, and this beauty creates happiness.
Cuerpo de agua. Estanque en un espacio comercial. Nicté-Ha o Ninfa (Nymphaea ampla). Proyecto: Arq. Psj. Mario A. Peniche López
Fotografía: Gloria Medina
Including water in our projects allows creating happy projects where people can see, smell, feel the water.
In addition, as if all the other reasons were not enough, water helps lowering temperature. It brings birds and their songs back which have been driven away by fierce urbanism; it creates the opportunity to include aquatic vegetation that is part of our Maya culture and it allows to create worthy spaces for life.
REGARDING WATER MANAGEMENT, WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS?
I think it is an integral part of a project. The existence of different bodies of water in design is not something that appears by chance, or can be used to fill extra spaces; it is born with the first ideas that generate the project, it becomes an essential part of it, in a way that cannot be eliminated without severely altering the design.
It is important that the landscape architects begin to work closely since the project’s starting point, and also we must understand these spaces as fundamental parts of life, of being happy, of enjoying the birds that surround a pond, a house next to a waterfall or in front of the ocean. To stop and look at a sunset, or hear the birds sing, or see the light shining through raindrops is not only a romantic thing; even if some people regard it as a waste of time. Those are the instants that feed our lives, filling it with magical moments.
The architecture will have positive effects as long as we as a society can understand that those things that seem irrelevant are the truly important things; the details that make a difference, are the things that take our breath away, and those moments are the ones worth living.
Architect and M.A. in Landscape Architecture. His studio was recognized by OBRAS Magazine as one of the Ten Architecture Studios of 2008. Due to his works he has received many awards, among which can be highlighted the First Places from Obras Cemex in 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2009; also the Plaque of Honour FCARM in 2004.
Founding Director of School of Architecture and Design in Universidad Marista de Merida where the “Catedra Extraordinaria Mario A. Peniche López” was instituted in 2010 to honor his labor as an architect and teacher.