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Housing Bubble – Exploring The César Manrique Foundation

If you’re staying in one of our villas in Costa Teguise, such as Villa Catamaran you are just a ten minute drive away from a property that is really out of this world.  As the small village of Tahiche, which is just a couple of kilometres from this coastal resort is home to the César Manrique Foundation, which used to be the home and studio of the eminent artist of the same name, who was born on Lanzarote in 1919 and who played a vital role in the controlled development of tourism on the island.


Cesar Manrique Foundation, Tahiche, Lanzarote

Going Underground at The CMF


Gone With The Wind

Given the amount of wind that Lanzarote is subjected to – the island is located in the path of the Trade Winds – it is no surprise to find that cave houses and other partially submerged dwellings have quite a heritage here, providing much needed protection from the elements.  The famous artist César Manrique took this concept one stage further though in 1968, when he built the first stage of his home, which at this time was known as the Taro de Tahiche.

Housing Bubbles

Manrique had found the site for his new house when out walking with friends across the lava fields which dominate in this part of the island.  Glancing the green shoots of a fig tree across the flow, the artist stumbled across a series of large underground chambers, which were to become the basement of his new home.  Creating an amazing edifice on two levels with a total surface area of 1800 metres square, along with a further 1200 metres dedicated to terracing and gardens.

Traditional Features

Manrique had long preached the importance of maintaining and preserving the islands rich architectural heritage to other islanders, so it is little surprise to find that the upper and most visible level of his house pays homage to these same styles and traditions.  Featuring elements such as the distinctive, almost Russian Orthodox looking chimney shape and uniform white washed walls.

Visitors enter via a bougainvillea clad wooden door that leads into a small entrance hallway, giving glimpses of one of the chambers below.  This entrance then opens out into the main upper level exhibition space, which features works by some of Manrique’s contemporaries such as Pablo Picasso.

Public and Private Spaces

Underground Chamber, CMF, Lanzarote

Subterrenean Living....

Today, the Taro de Tahiche is home to the César Manriqe Foundation, a body dedicated to pursuing the artist’s protectionist policies and as a result is an interesting mix of both public exhibition space alongside intimate glimpses into more private areas, such as bathrooms and living rooms.

Like all of Manrique’s best known works the site features a beautiful water feature, which is the prelude to entering the subterrenean volcanic chambers below.  Here Manrique interlinked the five volcanic bubbles beneath his house creating a separate and distinct environment in each.  Which visitors have to pass through before finally emerging into a much larger gallery space which houses lots of Manrique’s best known canvasses.  The interaction between man and nature is also aknowledged here with the odd rock from the surrounding lava flow incoporated into the walls.

As well as paintings, visitors can also view a selection of other Manrique memorabilia such as pottery, graphic designs and drawings for some of his architectural creations such as the Mirador Del Rio.

The César Manrique Foundation certainly provides a fascinating insight into the life and work of the man who has made such an impact on Lanzarote and as such is a real must see for anyone keen to know more about the island’s culture and development.

Background Information

The CMF is open daily from 10.00 to 18.00 and admission costs €8 per adult, with children under 12 admitted free of charge.  The Foundation also stage regular exhibitions and are currently showing Workshop of Dreams, a recreation of the work space created by the artist in Haria, where he lived after moving away from Tahiche.

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