Involvement with the United States Peace Corps - March 1, 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps which was John F. Kennedy's vision for a service corps of Americans who would work abroad for a period of two years in developing countries. The program, stille going strong, has had about 200,000 Returned Peace Corps volunteers who completed the two-year assignments in over 139 countries. UC Berkeley holds the record for the being the highest producer of volunteers with over 3,400 alumni having served. Gordon Linden is one of the RPC's from Venezuela where he participated from 1968 to 1971 in a Municipal Management Program intended to provide professional and technical services to local municipalities.
Linden had the good fortune of being assigned to the City of Maracay which lies about 1-1/2 hours to the west of the capital city of Caracas where he served as urban planner on a variety of projects including a Municipal Market, a beach recreation facility - Cata Beach, and a new City Hall. Working under the supervision of the late Domingo Rodriguez Viso head of the City's Development Foundation - FUNDAGIRARDOT - Linden was assigned as Assistant Architect to the renowned Venezuelan architect "Fruto Vivas".
"Fruto" short for "Fructoso" meaning fruitful is little known outside of Latin America but his work, most in Venezuela, displays a high level of creativity and uniqueness. An inquisitive mind, he has been a professor and practitioner for decades and is still active. For Maracay, he designed the City Hall or Concejo Municipal building as a series of structural modules which were to have been prefabricated - a popular idea at the time.
Many years later, as an accredited journalist at the Hannover Expo 2000, Linden had the opportunity to visit the Venezuelan pavilion which was one of the most popular at the event. The pavilion was designed to open and close like a flower and was considered one of the most unique structures at Expo 2000. Linden later learned that the designer of the building was none other than his former mentor, the very creative - Fruto Vivas.
More about Fruto Vivas (in Spanish) can be found here.