You would never have noticed what I am about to tell you, probably never; but if you ever had the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico and admired the architecture and monuments of my small little island, you probably witnessed the handy work of my father.
caption: My father, Luis Tarrido_Rosario, installing a door at Fort San Cristobal. credits: Héctor Tarrido-Picart
From Old San Juan to Ponce, from El Morro to the San Cristobal Fort, my dad’s life work is scattered everywhere across the island. Whenever you look through a window in El Morro, or if you standing in front of the “Plaza de Armas” looking at the San Juan Mayor’s Office, or if you go south down to Ponce, you will see his oeuvre. If you go to the Fortaleza and admire their grandiose doors and unique windows or if you stay in any of the Hotels in Condado, you will run into his work. It was never his interest to have the doors, windows, and woodwork of all these great architecture become protagonists; indeed, he respects the architecture legacy too much and has stoically assumed the important silent role of the restorer. His work as a restorer has also forever shaped me.
caption: My father inspecting a door hinge at the San Jose Church, one of the oldest church in the Americas. credits: Héctor Tarrido-Picart
The repeated visits to El Morro, El Casino de Ponce, Las Cabezas de San Juan, with a sketchpad and measuring tape in hand, greatly inspired me to study architecture. The site visits, the discussion with restoration architects, chemists, and structural engineers, all these interactions that revolved around trying to keep history alive, certainly left a strong impression on me.
caption: Photo documentation from the 1990's of the process of installing the massive doors at Fort San Cristobal. credit: unknown, La Casa de las Puertas
Perhaps, I would have been the only one to fully appreciate the love and effort my father has put into this work of restoration. If it was up to him, you would have never known who the author was, but after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, I believe that it is my duty as his son to let the world know of his great work.
caption: My father having a discussion with chemists and restorers from the National Historic Sites in Fort El Morro.
Why? My father, Luis Tarrido-Rosario, was one of the millions of victims that lost something significant from his life; his means to earn bread, his lost his shop La Casa de las Puertas . Tempest Maria’s category five winds destroyed my father’s production shop. When we first saw the scene in person, the destruction, the devastation, fifty-plus years of work; it looked as if someone had dropped the Mother-of-All-Bombs on my father’s life work and only means of subsistence. When my father laid eyes on the destroyed shop, he looked me straight into my eyes and half-defeated confessed: “When I see this, it makes me want to cry.” When my father took reign of my step-grandfathers windows and doors company, I don’t think he ever imagined that its ultimate fate was going to be what was in front of us. But as many Puerto Ricans are doing every day now, my father is reconstructing. He has stood up, brushed his dust and bruises and is fighting to help rebuild Puerto Rico.
caption: My father's business, La Casa de las Puertas , Inc., before Hurricane María struck. credit: Google Maps
caption: My father's business, La Casa de las Puertas , Inc., after Hurricane María struck. credit: Héctor Tarrido-Picart
Luckily and thankfully, no one was hurt, and we are forever grateful. Many families have lost much more than us: they have lost their homes; they have lost the place full of memories of grandchildren running on the streets and backyard; they have lost basic needs that people in the U.S. Mainland take for granted. But one thing that we have not yet lost has been the sense of community, and my father as part of the Hato Rey Neighborhood of San Juan has not lost that sense of community either. His shop was an integral part of the Jurutungo Sub-Neighborhood. When one of my father’s longtime artisans and employees saw the destruction he cried: “I have lost my second home!” But immediately after he said that, I helped him carry some zinc roof debris to the nearest cleared spot. The perseverance is due to the basic fact that everybody in the neighborhood understands that my father’s shop is crucial to the process of rebuilding, the shop will be crucial for Puerto Rico to Lift Itself Up, for ourselves to reconstruct our island: #PuertoRicoSeLevanta.
caption: More pictures of the devastation Maria caused La Casa de las Puertas, Inc. credit: Héctor Tarrido-Picart
The process of reconstruction is already starting, and this will inevitably involve replacing millions of doors and windows which were blasted and destroyed by María. The historic buildings and sites my father worked over the past 25 years actually survived the storm and are in good condition, this is proof that old craftsmanship and attention to detail trumps mass-manufactured, Big-Box windows and doors. While a portion of the houses destroyed by Maria where vulnerable houses built with limited budgets due to the resident’s impoverished conditions, many of the buildings that are still standing and will house displaced families only suffered damaged to their envelopes. Their structures are intact. My father’s shop is ready to help rebuild people’s dwellings and provide the windows and doors for the damaged envelopes that will provide shelter to displaced families, but the destruction of his shop severely limits the capacity to help.
caption: Machinery and inventory that was saved. At this point, we don't know if the machinery is operational. credit: Luis Tarrido-Picart
We have spent the past couple of days removing large debris and rescuing whatever machinery and inventory we could salvage. Luckily, a small annex where the shop’s offices still stand was not destroyed. My father plans to restart production from that small area. What I ask of whoever reads this to consider helping my father with a donation so he can restart production and help rebuild people’s homes. Over the past few days, as we have moved debris from the shop, we have seen people come around to help and people asking for advice on how to best replace their windows and doors after this horrible experience. Without a shop like my father’s, I am afraid that people will go to Big-Box shops for advice and buy their sub-quality doors and windows and the loss will be repeated again. Your donation will ensure that the process of reconstruction will happen from a local’s perspective and will ensure that when a new hurricane season is upon us, many Puerto Rican families will be better prepared. This is resilient from the bottom up.
We are asking to raise $100,000.00 to be able to cover the machinery that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, the faster we acquire this machinery, the faster we will help families provide for themselves shelter. The estimated cost of the damage to the shop is around $380k, but in order to start production, we only need $100k. What will this $100k will cover? It will cover the following:
1 Wood Table Saw
1 Wood Sander
1 Band Saw
1 Miter Saw
1 Wood Planer
1 Wood Shaper
That will help replace the destroyed inventory, which was:
5 Industrial Wood Table Saw
4 Industrial Orbital Sander
4 Industrial Wood Belt Sander
2 Industrial Table Sander
5 Industrial Radial Saw
2 Industrial Band Saw
4 Industrial Miter Saw
2 Industrial Wood Planer
3 Industrial Wood Shaper
2 Industrial Riper Saw
1 Wood Molding Machine
3 Industrial Table Router
2 Industrial Wood Mortiser
2 Industrial Wood Tenoner
1 Power Generator (50kwatt)
I hope you can help my father, La Casa de las Puertas and the people of Puerto Rico.
Architect and Urbanist
PS. If you would like to take an in-person view of the before, follow this link to the Google View of Jurutungo
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