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  El río y un siglo
(The River and a Century)
Julio Suárez

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Competition Guidelines
Site: Santo Domingo Town Square, San Germán

The Plaza in Front of the Porta Coeli Church in San Germán: With this unique monument dominating the area, the elongated plaza could serve as the site for an artistic realization. The church’s presence should not be disturbed. The history of the place should inspire the work, which should complement the character and scale of the site. A strategy is suggested that would involve working on the plaza’s pavement without interrupting the vertical plane of the church.
About the Area
The four centuries that have passed since the arrival of Western civilization to these shores have left marks of syncretism and imposition on spaces and structures. Proposals are being sought that will use the historic sphere without infringing on the dignity of a history that has already been written, but which asks to be told, perceived and expressed in new ways. Given the sensitivity (and regulations) of interventions in historic locations, we ask discretion and tact when incorporating contemporary means of expression. This challenge should not undermine the work, but rather serve to reclaim the present in light of the unchanging past.

Technical Data:
(Fountain - 2 ft. wide x   330 ft. long, concrete covered by light-gray granite, polished, matte flagstones)

Additional information:
Santo Domingo Square is approximately 370 feet long.

The fountain does not distort the physical aspect of the square. Most of the piece is close to the surface. The only vertical components are a number of 30 feet long wedges, raised 7inches above the surface, alternating with the pedestrian paths. These pedestrian paths are formed by light-gray granite plaques, under which the water runs, marking the transition between the two sections of the square. The plaques will be engraved with information about five important events in the foundation of San Germán.  

Concept Proposal

The River and a Century is a sculptural fountain honoring the founders of the city of San Germán.   Its form suggests the historic journey of a group of persons persistently committed to establishing the city. The sharp turns of its lay-out, shaped by bas-reliefs and parallel strips running on its surface, dominate the vocabulary of this sculpture. History records the saga of the founders, from the 16 th century (1506-1556) up to the construction of Porta Coeli Church, at the beginning of the 17 th century (1606-1607). Along the same lines, the artist records here five dates and historic events, to help recover the memory of the city, and keep it alive in the minds of a people who think mostly about the future. His proposal for Santo Domingo Square seeks to harmonize the historic value of the site with a future oriented perspective, in a language that, for all its currency, is not loud, and does not compete with historic Porta Coeli Church. The piece does not challenge the square; it takes a place alongside it, underlining its historical and social value. Thus, it shows how art may be added to a historic site without affecting its integrity.
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