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April cover

Out of this World


Today Las Pozas is at a crossroads. Every year more water from the heavy seasonal rains seeps in around the tens of thousands of metal reinforcing rods that sprout everywhere from the concrete, rusting them and causing them to swell. Miraculously, most of the structures remain sound, but they will not stay that way indefinitely. Las Pozas needs an infusion of money -- for upkeep, restoration, and some kind of administration -- and it can't wait forever. Gastelum has asked Avery Danziger to act as his agent to pursue funding sources, and plans for an architectural and engineering study are being spearheaded by Bud Goldstone, the man who in 1959 was involved in a successful campaign to save Los Angeles' wonderfully idiosyncratic Watts Towers. That project was funded by, among others, Edward James.

Temple of the ducks at the large waterfall.
photo by Robert Ziebell

Of all the places I have been, Las Pozas is one of the most fascinating, and I cannot imagine that ultimately it will not be saved -- not only to amaze and delight future generations of visitors but also to soothe the restless spirit of Edward James, which I imagine to be hovering somewhere in the vicinity of the Bamboo Palace. I keep remembering the first morning I was there, when my guide, Miguel Resendiz, who had known James well, told me the effect the place has on him: "When I look at what he built, I see his face. I even hear his voice. I think he is still here because I can be at Las Pozas and never get tired of it. When I walk around, I see a new door or a new concrete flower. It is like he is still building here. Edward James died, but the magic didn't die."


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