The Magic of the Cities.
Zen promotes the rediscovery of the obvious, which is so often lost in its familiarity and simplicity. It sees the miraculous in the common and magic in our everyday surroundings. When we are not rushed, and our minds are unclouded by conceptualizations, a veil will sometimes drop, introducing the viewer to a world unseen since childhood. ~ John Greer
Bicentenary Light Stele
Mexico architect Cesar Perez Becerril was commissioned to design and oversee the construction of the Estela de Luz (Stele of Light). The monument was to be two erect columns, one for each 100-year anniversary of Mexico’s war of independence. The completed monument weighs over 1,700 tons, is 104 meter (341 feet) high, 9 meters (29 feet) wide at its base, and is sunk more than 50 meters (164 feet) into the ground. A stainless steel frame molded and forged in Finland surrounds the monument. Sitting on the frame are 500 translucent quartz plates, said to be found only in Brazil and which were laminated in Italy.
The original budget for the project was 400 million pesos ($30.2 million) and the Stele of Light was to be unveiled at Mexico’s bicentennial celebration in September of 2010. Fast-forward to the chilly night of January 7, 2012. President Felipe Calderón presided over the inauguration ceremonies, which had been advanced one night without publicity. Instead of a large public event, those in attendance were members of his cabinet and a few hundred selected guests. The unannounced advancement of the ceremonies was to trick protesters who had planned to disrupt the festivities. A few showed up in spite of the change in time, but 1,200 police officers stood guard to keep the protestors a safe distance away from the ceremonies.
Sixteen months late in completion and at a final cost of 1 billion pesos ($76 million) many Mexicans are outraged. It has caused heated debate about corruption in the country. Protestors from a union pointed out than 150 schools could have been built with the same money. “We call it the Stele of Corruption,” said Pablo Escudero Morales.
A study conducted by the National Academy of Engineers claims the actual costs were closer to $37 million, leaving many Mexicans to wonder where the rest of the money went. Critics believe the delays and cost overruns were attributable to corruption more so than engineering challenges. [The Mazatlan Messenger]