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WHS: Not Worth the Effort/Time?

 
Author winterkjm
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 18 Nov 2014 11:39 | Edited by: winterkjm 
After reading the reviews of LUIS BARRAGÁN HOUSE AND STUDIO and the latest addition by Frederik Dawson, I decided NOT to spend my limited time in Mexico City (5 days) or money on a place that seems of mild interest at best. I am yet to hear a strong affirmation of this WHS.

I will spend most of my time visiting the Historic City and surroundings, including the Zocalo, UNAM, 2 museums, TEOTIHUACAN, and lastly Puebla.

After reading Meltwaterfalls fantastic reviews of somewhat outlandish attempts to visit world heritage sites (highly amusing), is there a moment for most of us where, the quest for world heritage sites is replaced by logic? Or is part of the "quest" however labor-some part of the fun? I personally had a good time locating, visiting, and checking off most of the Joseon Dynasty Tomb clusters in Korea, but for many it seems one was enough!

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 18 Nov 2014 12:31 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Will come back to this, just happy to hear someone reads and enjoys my reviews :)
winterkjm:
I personally had a good time locating, visiting, and checking off most of the Joseon Dynasty Tomb clusters in Korea, but for many it seems one was enough!
I think had I not be so time limited I would have gone off in search of more of these. Like you I had great fun plotting the logistics of a visit even if I didn't get to carry them out. The restrictions on access to the actual mounds may have tempered the enjoyment though.

Author elsslots
Admin
#3 | Posted: 18 Nov 2014 13:01 | Edited by: elsslots 
winterkjm:
the latest addition by Frederik Dawson

His experience was quite similar to mine.
I also could not find it rightaway, and wandered about in the small dirty road .. full with mechanical shops. It's not really a bad neighbourhood, but not a tourist area either and you do feel awkward walking there.
I also agree with his qualification of the House as a nice furnished house that looks like in the home magazine.
What I can further add to deter you is the high entrance fee (12 EUR), which really is a lot in Mexico. Asking 500 pesos (25 EUR) for taking photos is a rip-off too. So surely, this is the weakest WHS in the Mexico City Hotspot. But it's amazing how many architecture buffs from all over the world visit it. There must be something there that we cannot grasp.

Author Khuft
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 18 Nov 2014 15:04 
winterkjm:
is there a moment for most of us where, the quest for world heritage sites is replaced by logic?


This has happened to me several times - to be honest, WHS are just one criteria for me when planning trips. Six or seven years ago, I spent several days in the Netherlands, and skipped Beemster, the Amsterdam Defensive Line and other sites in favour of the Amsterdam city centre (not a WHS at the time), Delft, Den Haag, Haarlem and Leiden. I did visit the Rietveld Schröder House though (after wandering for an hour through the suburbs of Utrecht) - but admittedly I am an architecture fan.

Last year, I spend a weekend in Stockholm, in January. I didn't have too much time, and it was freezing, so while I toyed with the idea of Skogskyrkogarden, the Vasa museum ultimately won out.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 18 Nov 2014 15:09 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
Asking 500 pesos (25 EUR) for taking photos is a rip-off too.


I suspect you can blame the Swiss company "Vitra" for that (With the "Barragan foundation" being its ""front" on these matters).
Have a look at my review of the Barragan house for my comments on such matters - as I remember it, Els you received a "complaint" about a perceived inaccuracy in my comments about Vitra and I made a judicious alteration to overcome it!! They obviously regard their stake in all this as very important and keep a close "eye" on anything related to it.

See this NYT article for a recent (2013) picture of the state of affairs!!
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/04/arts/design/luis-barragan-homage-tweaks-vitra-the-c opyright-owners.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
By the way Els - was the e-mail you received about my review from the same lady as mentioned in the above article?

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 18 Nov 2014 17:45 
Solivagant:
Els you received a "complaint" about a perceived inaccuracy in my comments about Vitra and I made a judicious alteration to overcome it!!

Ah I remember your original review being a little more 'scathing', I assumed I had miss remembered but perhaps that was it. Also, thanks for that NYT link it was very enlightening.

Personally I am rather looking forward to my upcoming visit to Casa Barragan, but I fully understand that if you don't feel you will get anything much from a visit, then it probably isn't worth the hassle. For us there is already a fair bit of Barragan Pink around Casa del Cade, and we are looking forward to giving it some context.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 18 Nov 2014 18:57 
In regards to WHS not worth visiting, well I guess to me they are all worth visiting.
My holiday plans may boil down to visiting some places that some wonk in a Department of Cultural Affairs thought had a good shot at getting inscribed, but usually the sites tell an interesting story.

Having said that if I wasn't so interested in ticking off the list these are the ones I found most underwhelming:

Dutch water management sites - they tell a unique story, but my my they can be dull for the non specialist.
Derwent Valley Mills - These could be rather interesting, but in reality you end up trotting around a series of disused factories turned into shops selling lavender soap, shortbread and wool sweaters. The UK seems to really struggle with the presentation of its industrial WHS.
Mir Castle- once we got past the pretty exterior moat this castle was so devoid of merit it actually gave us a bout of the giggles, nearby Nesvizh looked magnificent in comparison. There is a reason Belarus isn't topping many must see lists (Minsk has provided many years of worthy stories though).
Ming Tombs- don't go as part of a combined tour with the Great Wall, a very frustrating experience, though I guess they are more interesting if you get there under your own steam.
Hovgĺrden- didn't really do much for us, the island it was on was nice in the midsummer sun, but on a dark damp day I think this may have scored very low.
Corvey- I didn't get inside but Els and Solivagant's recent reviews certainly don't make me want to rush back.
Donana NP- all I saw was a horse from 600m away in some scrubland, but the boat trip was nice and the Manzanilla was even better.
European Palaces- there are some that really stand out, but there are far too many that are expensive, involve limited visiting hours or endless guided tours that seem to revolve around highlights such as a painting of the 12th Earl of Borsetshire's hunting dogs, an immensely faded tapestry or a collection of Porcelain serving dishes. Hmmph.

Of course I still aim to visit them all even if there are joys like the Royal Exhibition Building or the Chestnut groves of the Ceveenes awaiting me.

Author elsslots
Admin
#8 | Posted: 19 Nov 2014 00:46 | Edited by: elsslots 
Solivagant:
By the way Els - was the e-mail you received about my review from the same lady

I don't remember this "incident" and cannot find an e-mail about it. Maybe it was posted as a "review", and I removed it later on.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 19 Nov 2014 02:38 | Edited by: Solivagant 
elsslots:
Maybe it was posted as a "review", and I removed it later on.

Yes - you are right. I remember now and that explains why I have no e-mail record of the matter. Unfortunately "Wayback Machine" didn't archive that particular review at that particular time so it looks as if it is lost for ever!

meltwaterfalls:
Ah I remember your original review being a little more 'scathing

No - not really. I just had not got the exact facts of the Vitra involvement explained with 100% clarity and accuracy - they are quite complicated!! But the extra review pointing this out was done by a lady with an "Iberian" name who was obviously directly involved in and concerned about Vitra matters who could well have been "Federica Zanco" (though from the NYT article she might have had bigger "fish to fry" than worrying about this Web site!!)

As for whether the house is worth visiting. Well, my view is that it is worth seeing the full range of what has been made "World Heritage" in order to obtain a rounded view of the scheme in all its aspects. The slightly "high" cost in Mexican terms is really neither here nor there in the great scheme of things given the overall cost of such a trip and I felt (maybe I was lucky with the guide) that I got good value from the obligatory tour - unlike at many a German castle!! And the photo restrictions/cost are only of mild annoyance - indeed even become an "interesting" aspect of the site once one begins to understand the history which led to them. I think that Els's 1 hour tour was more typical than my 2 hour one but it is certainly going to take out a large chunk from a morning or afternoon to fit it in with its 2 way metro journey to a part of the city one wouldn't otherwise be going to.

I wouldn't want to think that I had "missed out" on any Mexico city highlights in order to take it in but if it was a matter of missing out that morning coffee break or starting a bit earlier......!
I might have a problem deciding between the T listed Rivera/Kahlo houses and this one if I really did only have time for one of them - but I guess I would probably give it to the inscribed Barragan site despite my interest in Rivera - primarily because of my mild "ticking obsession"!

Author elsslots
Admin
#10 | Posted: 19 Nov 2014 03:40 
Solivagant:
Federica Zanco

it was!

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 19 Nov 2014 04:01 | Edited by: Solivagant 
So - here is Ms Zanco's "rectification" of my original review from April 2008 - she must have a Google Alert set for anything appearing on the Web about the House, the Foundation etc etc ..............Perhaps she is reading this at this very minute......! This busy lady obviously thought it worthwhile correcting any misconceptions about the role of the Foundation which might have been disseminated on this prestigious and widely read Web site. I had indeed already checked the Barragan Foundation Web site but apparently didn't adequately differentiate the role of the Foundation from that of those who acquired the House - though I thought that I had done so. Anyway it was good of her to clarify matters for us all!
"As a rectification to the information included in Mr. Paul Tanner's posted review (April 2008) I would suggest your checking the site: www.barragan-foundation.org . The Swiss furniture maker Vitra is supporting the work of the Barragan Foundation on Luis Barragan's archives. These were acquired from a NY gallerist in 1995, where they ended after having been offered in Mexico - by the former owner - without meeting the necessary interest. The scope of such an acquisition was and is the protection of their unique and rare integrity as a wealth of documents and informations on Luis Barragan's artistic achievements. Neither Vitra nor the Barragan Foundation were ever involved in the ownership nor handling of the Barragan House in Mexico City. Therefore the policy adopted by the Barragan House is independent from any influence from the Barragan Foundation. It is however true that the ownership of the copyright related to Barragan's oeuvre is held by the Barragan Foundation and managed by the Swiss Copyright Society pro litteris. This is an institution in charge of representing the rights of many other artists and authors, whose handling responds to a widely recognized and accepted policy worldwide. The copyright was indeed part of the sale offer made by the NY gallerist, as a condition requested by the former owner of the archives. Holding such copyright is essential not only to manage and use the archives but also to protect the intellectual property related to the work of Luis Barragan. The acquisition of the copyright, together with the archives, was not a matter of discussion, nor a choice, but a given fact and a duty. The Barragan Foundation's mission and duty consist in the maintenance, study and preservation of the archives' integrity, and in the management of Luis Barragan copyright.',
'federica zanco','barragan.foundation@vitra.com'

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 19 Nov 2014 05:46 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Just a quick clarification, when I said scathing I was relating it to the relationship with Vitra rather than your visiting experience. But having read your original post it seems the tone was always the same. I guess I was just surprised initially when you highlighted that a WHS that has photo restrictions due to the copyright being with an multinational company.

That exchange must have happened pretty quickly as on the next snapshot of the site your review had changed and there was nothing on there from Ms Zanco. I imagine it is a pretty lucrative thing holding the rights to someone's oeuvre so no action to protect it is too small, also I guess she does have a non commercial interest in limiting access to the archive as well.

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 WHS: Not Worth the Effort/Time?

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