Architecture of Mexico
For the artistic relevance of many of Mexico's architectural structures, including entire sections of prehispanic and colonial cities, have been designated World Heritage. The country has the first place in number of sites declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the Americas.
- 1 Prehispanic Period
- 2 Colonial Period
- 3 Republican Period
- 4 19th and early 20th Century Architecture
- 5 Modern and Contemporary Architecture
- 6 See also
- 7 Further Reading
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The presence of man in the Mexican territory has left important archaeological finds of great importance for the explanation of the habitat of early man and modern man. Mesoamerican civilizations have achieved great stylistic development and proportion in human and urban scale, the form evolved from simplicity to complexity aesthetic; in the north it manifests architecture of adobe and stone, the multifamily housing as it see in Paquimé, and the cave dwelling in caves of the Sierra Madre Occidental.
Monte Albán was for long the seat of the dominant power in the region of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, from the decline of San José Mogote until the sundown of the city, occurred around the 9th century. The old name of this city founded by the Zapotecs in late Preclassic is the subject of discussion. According to some sources, the original name was Dani Baá. It is known, however, that the Mixtec known the city as Yuku kúi (Mixtec language: Yúku kúi, "Green Hill").
Like most of the great Mesoamerican cities, Monte Albán was a city with a multiethnic population. Throughout its history, the city maintained strong ties to other major peoples in Mesoamerica, especially with the Teotihuacans during the Early Classic. The city was abandoned by the elite and much of its population at the end of Phase Xoo. However, the ceremonial enclosure that constitute the complex of archeological site of Monte Albán was reused for the Mixtec during the Postclassic period. By this time, the Zapotec people's political power was divided among various city-states, as Zaachila, Yagul, Lambityeco and Tehuantepec.
It is believed that the Maya founded Lakam Ha during the Formative period (2500 B.C. - 300 A.D.), about 100 B.C., predominantly as a farmer village, and favored by numerous springs and streams in the region.
The population grew during the Early Classic period (200-600), to be a city, becoming the capital of the region of B'akaal (bone), comprised in the area of Chiapas and Tabasco, in the Late Classic period (600-900). The oldest of the structures that have been discovered was built around the year 600.
B'akaal was an important center of Mayan civilization between the 5th and 9th centuries, during which alternated times of glory and disaster, alliances and wars. On more than one occasion made alliances with Tikal, the other great Mayan city of the time, especially to contain the spread of militant Calakmul, also called "Kingdom of the Serpent". Calakmul was victorious twice, in 599 and 611.
B'akaal rulers claimed that the origin of their lineage came from the distant past, some even boasting come from prehistoric times, leading to the creation of the world, which in Mayan mythology, was in the year 3114 B.C. Modern archaeological theories speculate that the first dynasty of their rulers was probably Olmec.
During the Phase Tollan, the city had reached its greatest extent and population. Some authors estimate urban surface Tollan-Xicocotitlan between 5 and 16 km² for the time, with a population of between 16,000 and 55,000 peoples. During this phase should consolidate monumental space that constitutes the current archaeological zone of Tula, consistent into two pyramidal bases, two courts for the ballgame and several palaces that could be occupied by the Toltec elite. By this time, Tollan-Xicocotitlan became not only the heart of the Mesoamerican commercial networks. Also hosted a military-theocratic elite who imposed their dominance in various parts of Mesoamerica, were by military conquest, or political alliance or by establishing colonies in strategic places.
Teotihuacan was inscribed on the list of World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1987. Despite what might be assumed given the large number of monuments, the Teotihuacan archaeological excavations continue to this day, and have resulted in a gradual increase in the quality and quantity of knowledge it have about this city, which, incidentally, are unknown issues as important as its original name and the ethnic affiliation of its founders. It is known, however, that was a cosmopolitan place, by the documented presence of groups from the Gulf Coast or the Central Valleys of Oaxaca.
Located in the town of Tzintzuntzan in the municipality of the same name. The settlement is located on the Yahuarato hillside, where it became an esplanade, the location allowed have visual domain of Lake Pátzcuaro, in addition to providing protection. The zone is formed by 5 pyramids called "Yácatas" that having rectangular shape and semicircle since its staggered basis, besides other architectural. The yácatas were the main ceremonial center. The site was the last capital of the Purepecha empire. It has a small archaeological museum.
The buildings of Chichen Itza show a large number of architectural and iconographic elements that some historians have wanted to call Mexicanized. The truth is that it is visible the influence of cultures from central Mexico, and mixing with the Puuc style, from the upper peninsula, of Classic Maya architecture. The presence of these elements from the cultures of the plateau were conceived several years ago as a result of a mass migration or conquest of the Maya city by Toltec groups. However, recent studies suggest that may have been the cultural expression of a prestigious and widespread political system during the Early Postclassic in Mesoamerica.
Oasisomericanos peoples had great contact with the peoples of Mesoamerica and the Northern Hemisphere, this leads to a unique style of construction in the Americas, their influence is marked primarily by commercial activities between the north and south. The archaeology is a bit compared to the construction of Chan Chan in northern Peru.
Paquimé was a prehistoric settlement that influenced in the northwest of the Sierra Madre Occidental, the most of western Chihuahua and some areas of the states of Sonora, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Researchers estimate that the population probably grew to about 3,500 inhabitants, but is unaware of their linguistic and ethnic affiliation.
The site is famous for its adobe buildings and "T" form doors. Of its total length is only a fraction fenced and a less excavated. Its buildings have traits of Oasisamerica culture and demonstrates the skill of the prehispanic architects of the region making adobe multifamily houses up to four levels high with wooden, reed, stone and adobe.
With the arrival of the Spanish were introduced architectural theories of classical order and Arabic formalities, to build the first churches and monasteries monastic; it projected models uniques in its kind that were the basis for the evangelization of indigenous peoples marking their ideology within Architectural style called tequitqui (from Nahuatl; worker or mason), years later the baroque and mannerism are imposed in great cathedrals and civic buildings, while in rural areas are built haciendas or manor farms with Mozarabic trends.
The mendicant monasteries were one of the architectural solutions devised by the friars of the mendicant orders in the 16th century for Evangelization in New Spain, designed for a huge number of indigenous non-Catholics. Were based on European monastic model, but added innovative elements in New Spain as atrial cross and the open chapel, also characterized by hold different trends decorative and sturdy appearance as military fortresses.
The religious function of these buildings was thought for a huge number of Indians to evangelize, but early in the policy of reductions the set became the training center of its communities and ways of western civilians, the Castilian, various arts and trades, health, and even funerals.
Within these buildings, spread across the center of the current Mexico and mastery superb examples of architecture and decor, is possible to find an art originated both in stone carving and decoration painting: art tequitqui or indo-Christian, a kind of style made by Indians who built the buildings based on European standards and directed by the friars.
The first cathedrals were built since 1521 when it was founded the New Spain, from that time have built ever more elaborate than the last as the Cathedral of Yucatán which is considered the second cathedral of Mexico with a Renaissance style.
The New Spanish Baroque
The dominant form of art and architecture during most of the colonial period was Baroque. In 1577, Pope Gregory XIII created the Academy of Saint Luke with the purpose of breaking with Renaissance style. Its aim was to use painting and sculpture in and on churches to create iconography to teach and reinforce Church doctrine. In Spain, the first works in Baroque include the Patio of the Kings in El Escorial monastery.
Spanish Baroque was transplanted to Mexico and developed its own varieties from the late 16th to late 18th centuries. Baroque art and architecture were mostly applied to churches. One reason for this was that in nearly all cities, towns and villages, the church was the center of the community, with streets in a regular pattern leading away from it. This reflected the Church’s role as the center of community life. Church design in New Spain tended to follow the rectilinear pattern of squares and cubes, rather than contemporary European churches that favored curves and orbs.
The spaces of Mexican Baroque churches tend to be more introverted than their European counterparts, focusing especially on the main altar. The purpose was contemplation and meditation. The rich ornamentation was created to keep attention focused on the central themes. This was especially true of the main altar.
On important element of Mexican Baroque were columns and pilasters, in particular the part between the capital and the base, which can be categorized in six types including Salomonic and estipite (an inverted truncated pyramid) in the later colonial period. Even if the rest of the structure was not covered in decoration, such as in the “purist” style, columns and spaces between doubled columns were profusely decorated.
As it developed in Mexico, the Baroque split into a number of sub-styles and techniques. “Estucado” Baroque was purely decorative and did not employ any architectural features. Features were molded from stucco with intricate detail and either covered in gold leaf or paint. This form reached its height in the 17th century in Puebla and Oaxaca. Surviving examples include the Chapel del Rosario in Puebla and the Church at Tonantzintla. One reason this style fell out of favor was that the stucco work eventually dissolved.
Talavera Baroque was a variety mostly confined to the states of Puebla and Tlaxcala. The main defining feature was the use of hand-painted ceramic tiles of the Talavera type. This style came into being here because of the pottery industry. Tiles are mostly found on the bell towers, domes and main portals of the exterior. They are also found interspersed on the rest of the facade as accents to brickwork. This type of Baroque first appeared in the 17th century and reached its height in the 18th. While wholesale use of this style is mostly confined to two states, elements of this tile work appear, especially in domes, in many other parts of the country.
In the late Baroque era artists in the provincial area of New Spain created intricately textured church facades and interiors similar to those of the major cities. It had a more two-dimensional quality, which led it to be called Mestizo Baroque or Folk Baroque. The two-level effect was less based on sculptural modeling and more on drilling into the surface to create a screen-like effect. This has some similarities to pre-Hispanic stone and wood carving, allowing elements of indigenous art tradition to survive.
Other Baroque styles in Mexico did not adorn all of the surfaces of the interior or exterior but focused their ornamentation on columns, pilasters and the spaces between pairs of these supports. Medallions and niches with statues commonly appear between columns and pilasters, especially around main portals and windows. Decorative patterns in columns after were wavy grooves (called estrías móviles).
Another late Baroque style in Mexico is often called Mexican Churrigueresque after the Spanish Churriguera family, who made altarpieces at this time. However, the more technical term for this very exuberant, anti-classical style is ultra Baroque. It originated in Spain as architectural decoration, spreading to sculpture and furniture carving. In Spain, the definitive element of ultra Baroque was the use of the Salomonic column along with the profuse decoration. In Mexico, the Salomonic column appears as well but the main distinctive aspect of Mexican ultra Baroque is the use of the estipite column in both buildings and altarpieces. This is not a true column, but rather an elongated base in the form of an inverted, truncated pyramid. This can be seen in the Mexico City Cathedral in the Altar of the Kings and the main portal of the Tabernacle.
Ultra Baroque was introduced by Jerónimo Balbás into Mexico, whose design for an altar at the Seville Cathedral was the inspiration for the Altar of the Kings, constructed in 1717. Balbás used estípites to convey a sense of fluidity, but his Mexican followers flattened the facades and aligned the estepites, with less dynamic results. This is what Lorenzo Rodríguez did to Balbás design for the Altar of the Kings. He also created a stronger horizontal division between the first and second levels, which derived Mexican ultra Baroque from the Spanish version. The ultra Baroque appeared when Mexican mines were producing great wealth, prompting numerous building projects. Much of Mexican ultra Baroque can be seen in and the city of Guanajuato and its mines. For this reason, the style became more developed in Mexico than in Spain.
The combination of Indian and Arabic decorative influences, with an extremely expressive interpretation of the churrigueresque, could explain the variety and intensity of the Baroque in New Spain. Even more than its Spanish counterpart, the American Baroque developed as a style of stucco decoration. Twin towers facades of many American cathedrals of the 17th century have medieval roots.
To the north, the richest province of the 18th century, New Spain, the current Mexico, was an architecture fantastically extravagant and visually frenetic that is Mexican churrigueresque. This ultrabaroque style culminates in the works of Lorenzo Rodríguez, whose masterpiece is the Sagrario Metropolitano in Mexico City (1749-1769). Other notable examples are in remote mining towns. For example, the sanctuary of Ocotlán (begun in 1745) is a first-Baroque cathedral, whose surface is covered with bright red tiles, which contrast with a plethora of compressed ornament applied generously on the front and sides of the towers. The true capital of Mexican Baroque is Puebla, where the abundance of hand painted tiles and local gray stone led to a very personal and localized evolution of style, with a pronounced Indian flavor.
The New Spanish Baroque is an artistic movement that appeared in what is now Mexico in the late 16th century, approximately, which was preserved until the mid-18th century. From the Portuguese word barrueco meaning unclean, mottled, flamboyant, daring, the most striking example of New Spanish Baroque art is in religious architecture, where indigenous artisans gave it a unique character. Highlights include the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City with his Altar of the Kings, the church of Santa María Tonantzintla in the Puebla State, the Jesuit convent of Tepotzotlán in the State of Mexico, the Chapel of the Rosary in the church of Santo Domingo of the city of Puebla, the convent and the church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán in Oaxaca, and the church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Guerrero State.
The ethos baroque shook in Mexico the forms and classic proportions to help and forge a Mexican identity. The New Spanish Baroque is the rediscovery and re-founding of the Spanish heritage, from the 17th century. The Baroque style is an experience of cultural survival by indigenous, enriching and transforming. Mexico and the Baroque share its history with the arrival of the Iberian-European civilization and cultural mix.
The marginal population of the New Spanish cities, overwhelmingly indigenous, undertook, by the 17th century, the construction of a new identity (at the failure of the attempt to impose simply European culture through evangelism). Were mostly indigenous people resident in cities, taking advantage of its otherness, were able to reconstruct the forms came from Europe. The Indians had seen their world crumbling ancestral and were forced to change their identity, adopting the forms and techniques of the conquerors but with a proper content. As a result, also transformed the way of see the world of New Spanish Criollos and Mestizos, forgers all of the current Mexican society.
New Spanish great works
Undoubtedly the Cathedral of Puebla has the highest mix of architectural styles, and that makes it unique in the world as a good example of viceroyal architecture.
Located in the historic center of Puebla, this library is pride of Baroque and Monument in Mexico since 1981. Bishop Palafox donated his personal library, composed of five thousand volumes before the notary Nicolás de Valdivia on September 5, 1646, to be consulted by all those who wish to study, because its main condition was that it was open to the public and not just to ecclesiastics and seminarians.
The creation of this library was approved by royal charter in December 1647 and reconfirmed by Pope Innocent X in 1648. For over 360 years, the Biblioteca Palafoxiana, has been sitting in the Formae College of San Juan in the seminary founded by Palafox y Mendoza. While the construction of the dome, as found today was made in 1773, by Bishop Francisco de Fabián y Fuero, who ordered the construction of the first two floors of the shelf, which is a fine work of New Spanish cabinetmakers who worked harmoniously the ayacahuite, cedar and wild sunflower woods. From this period dates the delicate altarpiece which houses the effigy of the Madonna of Trapani, oil that was presumably made modeled the sculpture by Nino Pisano made of the Virgin in the 14th century. Later, in the 19th century, was placed a third level because they had increased the number of volumes that were in the library.
After Mexico's independence in 1821, the mission of Nuestra Señora de Loreto went into decline, the Pious Fund of the Californias instituted in favor of the Jesuits by the Marquis of Villapuente de la Peña and his wife the Marchioness of las Torres de Rada to support the evangelization of the Californias disappeared with his expulsion, the natives of the region disappeared by the diseases brought by the Europeans to the peninsula, the Franciscans to march to the Alta California place ceded to the Dominicans that not brought the substance of the first missionaries, however the mission yet survived abandonment, unlike many other missions founded in Baja California peninsula by Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans were left to disappear completely.
Today the Mission of Nuestra Señora de Loreto is the jewel of the missions founded in the peninsula. The revival of the economy and communications infrastructure construction in Baja California Sur from the last century has been of benefit to the mission, gone are the days of deprivation. In 1992, the town of Loreto, the ancient capital of Las Californias reached the rank of capital of the municipality.
The mission was founded in 1699 by Jesuit missionary Eusebio Kino, who often visited and preached in the area. The original mission church, approximately 3 kilometers away, was vulnerable to Apache attacks who finally destroyed by the year 1770. Charles III of Spain banned all Jesuits from Spanish lands in America in 1767 because of his distrust of the Jesuits. At this time, the Mission San Xavier del Bac was conducted by the Franciscans more flexible "and reliable." The current building was constructed under the direction of Franciscan Fathers Juan Bautista Velderrain and Juan Bautista Llorenz mainly with native labor, which did the work in the period 1783-1797, with a loan of 7,000 pesos and is mainly used by the Christian community of the District of Tohono O'odham. Unlike the other Spanish missions in Arizona, San Xavier continuously active and run by Franciscans; also continues to serve the native community for which it was built. The Mission of San Xavier and Indian converts were protected by the Royal Presidio of San Agustín del Tucsón, established an Indian convert and were protected from Apache raids by the presidio of Tucson, established in 1775.
Outside, the Mission, white, has a Moorish-inspired design, elegant and simple, with an ornately decorated entrance. There are no files for architects, builders, and craftsmen responsible for creating it and decorate it. Most of the work was provided by the local Indians, and believed that they provided artisan creativity. Guests entering the gates carved mesquite wood, struck by the freshness of the interior, and the dazzling colors of the paintings, carving, frescoes and statues. The interior is richly decorated with ornaments showing a mixture of New Spain and indigenous artistic embellishments.
The plan of the church represents the classic Latin cross. The main hall is separated from the sanctuary by the transept, with chapels to one or the other end. The dome above the transept is 16 m high and is supported by arches and esquinches. At least three different artists painted the artwork inside the church. The Mission is considered the finest Spanish architecture in the United States.
The fortifications and presidios
By the year of 1535 began the construction of the fortress mainly with coral stone place, in order to protect the boats mooring by bad weather, but mostly and along with the system of walls and ramparts of the city of Veracruz, protect this important port of pirate attacks and filibusters. Over time, San Juan de Ulúa became the most formidable fortress of its time in this part of the hemisphere.
The September 23, 1568, its walls witnessed the Battle of San Juan de Ulúa, in which a fleet of bodyguards of the Spanish Armada, led by General Francisco Luján beat a fleet of British pirates under the command of Francis Drake and John Hawkins.
Already by the early 19th century and to be consummated Mexican independence from domain of Spain in 1821, the fort and island became the last stronghold of the metropolis to regain its former dominance. The fort surrendered on November 18, 1825.
Those involved in the work were the master Juan de Dios Trinidad Pérez and Francisco Ortiz de Castro. Was completed on 7 November 1809. Its main purpose was grain storage, however this feature was short lived as a few months, in September 1810, the city was taken by separatist insurgents.
The presidio was an instrument of peace and territorial defense, defending in its early routes and roads, thereby populating the northern Mexico. This presidial system emerges as a strategy of settlement by the Spanish during the Viceroyalty consisting of a building to defend to soldiers and serve as temporary shelter against the attacks, which was dismantled after the area was pacified.
Each presidio was built at a safe distance to allow other mutual support. Being dismantled the presidio was forgotten and later became a population took every other abandoned building to make their homes, barns and forming the main square that was once the central space of the presidio. It consisted of a Chief and 45 men divided into three sections of 15 men each, which took turns to stand guard.
In neoclassical have been rebuilt several temples modifying the original structure as the Cathedral of Toluca and most of the temples including that style. Finally some cathedrals are recent constructions with modern architecture and are equally interesting.
In the 19th century the neoclassical movement is a response to the objectives of the republican nation, one of its examples are the Hospicio Cabañas where strict plastic of the classic orders are represented in architectural elements also arise new religious, civil and military buildings demonstrating the presence of neoclassicism.
During the Porfiriato, appeared a group of intellectuals and scholars, scientists, who thought that the Porfirio Díaz´s dictatorship could be useful to achieve the modernization of Mexico. So the Porfiriato was characterized by a strange mixture of liberalism and conservatism.
Díaz was elected president seven times. Its main allies were the Church and the great landowners. During his dictatorship, Mexico achieved significant economic progress, supported by the growth of the country's population. The latifundia (large estates of the landowners) also increased (at the expense of the lands of indigenous communities, mainly). The export of agricultural products increased dramatically. Thus, Mexico received significant amounts of money from abroad, with the state funded its development program. In it were very important railway track construction and exploitation of the silver mines.
Is reflected in the architecture of its time covered, since the end of the "romance" to "modernism". Mexico City to be the capital of the Republic will manifest more clearly the process, trends and conditions within which it developed the unique architecture of this period and reflects the contradictions of Porfirian society. Eclecticism, retention schedules and tastes of academics from the European School of Fine Arts, which influenced both during the Neoclassical, the need and desire for a good part of society for the "revival", while interest modernity to integrate into the "nouveau", along with the "nationalist" desire, based on the interpretation and the "rebirth" of the pre-Hispanic, clearly portray the development and evolution of a society that willingly, in exchange for "progress" was subjected to a dictatorship.
19th and early 20th Century Architecture
Townscapes changed little during the first half of the 19th century in Mexico, until the French occupation during the Second Mexican Empire in the 1860s. Emperor Maximilian I brought a new set of urban design ideas to Mexico. Drawing from the mid-century Parisian revelopment plan of Baron Haussmann, Maximillain administered the building of a broad new diagonal avenue- Paseo de la Reforma. This elegant boulevard ran for miles from the downtown National Palace to the lush Chapultepec Park where the Austrian ruler lived in the Chapultepec Castle. Along the Reforma, double rows of eucalyptus trees were planted, gas lamps installed, and the first mule-drawn streetcars were introduced. The development was the catalyst for a new phase of growth from downtown Mexico City to the west, a direction that would define the city's structure for the next half century.
During President Porfirio Diaz's reign (1876–1880, 1884–1911), patrons and practitioners of architecture manifested two impulses: to create an architecture that would indicate Mexico's participation in modernity and the emphasize Mexico's difference from other countries through the incorporation of local characteristics into the architecture. The first goal took precedence over the second during most of the 19th century.
A modern, sophisticated Mexico City was the goal of President Diaz. Cast iron technology from Europe and the United States allowed for new building designs. Italian marble, European granite, bronzes and stained glass could now be imported. Diaz was determined to transform the landscape of the nation's capital into one reminiscent of Paris or London. It is not surprising that the most important architectural commissions of the Porfiriato were given to foreigners. Italian architect Adamo Boari designed the Postal Palace built by Gonzalo Garita (1902) and the National Theatre of Mexico (1904). The French architect Emile Benard, who worked on the Legislative Palace in 1903, founded an architectural studio where he took Mexican students. Silvio Contri was responsible for the Secretariat of Communications and Public Works (1902–11). Neo-Gothic designs incorporated into the monumental public buildings of the early 20th century. The two best examples were the Central post office and the Palacio de Bellas Artes, designed by Italian architect Adamo Boari.
President Diaz had enacted a decree in 1877 that called for the placement of a series of political statues of Mexican heroes along the Paseo de la Reforma. Classical designs were used to build structures such as the Angel of Independence monument, the Monument to Cuauhtémoc, the monument to Benito Juárez, and the Columbus Statue. Diaz's conviction about the importance of public monuments in the urban landscape started a tradition that has become permanent in Mexico: public monuments in the 20th century landscape.
In the 19th century, Neo-Indigenist architecture played an active part of the representation of national identity as constructed by the Porfirian regime. The representation of the local in Mexican architecture was achieved mainly through themes and decorative motifs inspired by pre-Hispanic antiquity. These representations were essential to the construction of a common heritage by which the nation might be unified. The first building based on the ancient Mexican motifs built in the 19th century was the Monument to Cuauhtémoc executed by engineer Francisco Jimenez and the sculptor Miguel Norena. Other 19th-century buildings incorporating pre-Hispanic decorative motifs include the monument to Benito Juarez in Paseo Juarez, Oaxaca (1889).
At the beginning of the 20th century, Luis Zalazar enthusiastically encouraged architects to create a national style of architecture based on the study of pre-Hispanic ruins. His writings would be influential for the nationalistic tendencies in Mexican architecture which developed during the second and third decade of the 20th century.
After the Mexican Revolution, successive Mexican regimes would use the pre-Hispanic past to represent the nation. Later architects also took inspiration from the architecture of the colonial period and regional architecture as the creation of a genuinely Mexican architecture became a pressing issue during the 20th century.
Modern and Contemporary Architecture
Fifteen years after the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1917, government endorsements for federal housing, educational, and health care building programs began. While the development of modern architecture in Mexico bears some noteworthy parallels to its North American and European counterparts, its trajectory highlights several unique characteristics, which challenged existing definitions modern architecture. During the post-Revolutionary period, idealization of the indigenous and the traditional symbolized attempts to reach into the past and retrieve what had been lost in the race toward modernization.
Functionalism, expressionism, and other schools have left their imprint on a large number of works in which Mexican stylistic elements have been combined with European and North American techniques.
The Institute of Hygiene (1925) in Popotla, Mexico, by José Villagrán García, was one of the first examples of this new national architecture. The studio designed by Juan O'Gorman in San Angel, Mexico City, for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (1931–32) is a fine example of vanguard architecture built in Mexico. Mexico's first project of high-density, low-cost housing was the Centro Urbano Alemán (1947–49), Mexico City, by Mario Pani.
Perhaps the most ambitious project of modern architecture was the construction, begun in 1950, Ciudad Universitaria outside Mexico City, a complex of buildings and grounds housing the National Autonomous University of Mexico. A cooperative venture, the project was directed by Carlos Lazo, Enrique Del Moral, and Pani. In the new campus the art of the Mexican muralists was incorporated into the architecture, beginning with Rivera's relief in the new Estadio Olímpico Universitario (1952), by Augusto Pérez Palacios, Jorge Bravo, and Raúl Salinas. The Rectory (1952), by Pani, del Moral, and Salvador Ortega Flores, includes murals by David Alfaro Siqueiros. Perhaps the best integration of mural art with the new architecture is seen in the University Library, by O’Gorman, Gustavo Saavedra, and Juan Martínez de Velasco, which features a monumental mosaic design on the facade by O’Gorman. Another architect of note is Felix Candela (Spanish), who designed the expressionistic church Nuestra Señora de los Milagros.
This was a period of diverse experimentation and even structural innovation, as seen in the thin-shell concrete structures by the Spanish architect Felix Candela, such as his Church of the Miraculous Virgin (1953) in Mexico City and the Cosmic Ray Pavilion (1952) on the university campus. The integration of art and architecture became a constant in Mexican modern architecture, which can be seen in the courtyard of the Anthropology Museum (c. 1963–65) in Mexico City, by Pedro Ramírez Vázquez.
Another side of Mexican modern architecture is represented in the work of Luis Barragán. The houses that he designed in the 1950s and ’60s explored a way to reconcile the lessons of Le Corbusier with the Spanish colonial tradition. This new synthesis created a completely original Modernist architecture that is uniquely adapted to its environment.
Ricardo Legorreta's Camino Real Hotel (1968) in Mexico City is a composition of courtyards and roof terraces within the walls of one downtown block. This work is indebted to the work of Barragán, applying his methods on a larger public scale. In Mexico the Brutalism of Teodoro González de León's Music Conservatory (1994) and the Neo-Barragánesque library (1994) by Legorreta coexist in the new National Centre of the Arts with the work of a younger generation of architects who are influenced by contemporary architecture in Europe and North America.
The School of Theatre (1994), by TEN Arquitectos, and the School of Dance (1994), by Luis Vicente Flores, express a modernity that reinforces the government's desire to present a new image of Mexico as an industrialized country with a global presence. Enrique Norten, the founder of TEN Arquitectors, was presented with the "Legacy Award" by the Smithsonian Institution for his contributions to the US arts and culture through his work. In 2005 he received the "Leonardo da Vinci" World Award of Arts by the World Cultural Council and was the first Mies van der Rohe Award recipient for Latin American Architecture.
The refined work of Alberto Kalach and Daniel Alvarez stands out both in their numerous residences as well as in the San Juan de Letrán Station (1994) in Mexico City. The residential work of José Antonio Aldrete-Haas in Mexico City shows both the influence of the attenuated Modernism of the great Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza and a continuity with the lessons of Barragán. Other notable and emerging contemporary architects include Mario Schjetnan, Michel Rojkind, Tatiana Bilbao, Isaac Broid and Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta, with award winning works in Mexico, USA and Europe.
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- Hernández, Rubén (1999-08-02). "Jacinto Avalos : Emociones junto al mar.(Entremuros)". Reforma.
- Amazon.com: Houses by the Sea: Mexico's Pacific Coast (9789709241075): Mauricio Martinez: Books
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