Burle Marx site is prepared to apply for world heritage

Area open to the public of the space where Roberto Burle Marx lived

Tombado since 2000, the location needs some conservation repairs, in addition to an expected exposure for 2020.

The Roberto Burle Marx Site (SRBM) goes through the last preparations to apply for a World Heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). The 602-page application dossier prepared by the Institute for National Historical and Artistic Heritage (Iphan) was submitted to the Brazilian representation in Unesco in January and will be discussed at the World Heritage Committee meeting scheduled for June in Baku in Azerbaijan.

According to the director of the site, Cláudia Storino, the process goes through a predetermined rite, initiated in 2015 with the inscription of the place in a provisional list of candidates. If the dossier is approved, a Unesco mission will visit the site in the second semester.

"Once they consider the dossier appropriate, in the second half of the year Unesco sends a consultant or two on an evaluation mission. These experts go to the site to verify if what is in the dossier corresponds to the reality, if any information is missing, if there is any doubt. Then, this consultant prepares a report, which is sent to the World Heritage Committee", said the director.

According to Cláudia, as the committee meets only once a year, the meeting that will evaluate the SRBM will be that of 2020, when it can be announced the inscription in the World Heritage list. Annually, each Unesco member country may indicate only one item to compete.

The director emphasizes that the site is in good condition, but needs some repairs and conservation works, in addition to an exhibition scheduled for next year. She states that the necessary budget is in the range of $1 million.

"We have a number of services placed in our action plan, but it depends on the sufficient budget. The site has been re-enrolled since joining the list of candidates. We have already reformed two lakes, several spaces have been restored, we are finishing the waterproofing of the atelier cover. We want to restore the chapel's floor and altar. "

For Claudia, being included in the list of world heritage is an important seal to continue the work of preserving the place, although it does not involve any monetary resources.

" [The inscription] highlights the site as a good that matters to the whole world. So preservation gains a much stronger argument. The site is already very relevant to the cultural landscape locally, important for Brazil and for the state of Rio. This is now the last step that a good can climb in terms of importance for the whole world. This establishes certain rules of preservation for the good and for its surroundings, an area in which certain care must be maintained. "

Cultural heritage

Tombado as Brazilian cultural patrimony since 2000, the site is a unit of the Iphan itself, after the donation made in life by Roberto Burle Marx in 1985, that lived there until his death, in 1994. In January last year, the site was visited by experts from the International Council of Monuments and Sites (Icomos), Unesco's advisory body, within the application process.

With 405 thousand square meters, about two-thirds of which are confused with the Pedra Branca State Park, in the west of Rio, the area open to visitors goes through a 1,800-meter path, transformed from a coffee, banana and cassava farm into a complex and revolutionary tropical plant garden by the most important landscaper of the 20th century.

In addition to the botanical collection, with more than 3 thousand species from different parts of the world, the guided tours include Santo Antônio da Bica Chapel, built in 1681; the Main House, preserved as it was at the time when Burle Marx resided there; the Stone Kitchen, modernist construction where the landscaper offered parties and receptions; and the Atelier, where Burle Marx would move at the end of his life, after donating the place to the federal government. He, however, died before the building was completed.

According to Iphan, the inclusion of the SRBM in the list of World Heritage is justified as being the masterpiece of the human creative genius; being a testimony of a considerable exchange of influences on the development of architecture, monumental arts, urban planning or from the creation of landscapes; to be an exceptional example of a type of building or architectural or landscape assembly; and be directly or materially associated with living events and traditions, ideas, beliefs, or artistic and literary works that have an outstanding universal meaning.

The director of the site recalls that the work done by Burle Marx in the gardens of the site has revolutionized the landscape of the world. "They were places of experimentation, the modern tropical garden was placed there, it was a creation of Burle Marx himself, who was the very person who realized that tropical plants could be used in a garden, causing a great transformation in the world of landscaping. The artist's contribution to humanity is very important. "

She explains that the botanical collection is being cataloged, georeferenced and computerized. "It is not only a matter of preserving the collection, it is necessary to ensure that it is disseminated, studied and made available to the scientific community".

Still within the process of applying for World Heritage, the site is preparing the management plan, with executive projects to reform the administration building, a study on the spaces and resources available to outline the guideline for use and intervention in the spaces listed by Iphan, the development of the strategic museological plan and the study of the surrounding region. "The objective is to verify how we can better serve the surrounding community, as this can give a return to society," adds Claudia.

In addition, a study of economic sustainability, a virtual database creation, with its collection authored by Burle Marx, and the constitution of the managing committee, are underway.