In the second half of the 19th century Mexican architecture appeared characterized by a polistilistic eclecticism: neo-Doric is the monument and sepulcher to B. Juarez in Guanajuato (1873) by Rivas Mercado, the maternal hospital of Puebla (1879) of Tamariz, and the Mexican pavilion at the New Orleans Exposition (1874) by JR Ibarra. The works of the Italian A. Boari assigned a specific use to each style: neo-classical the legislative palace (1897), neo-Romanesque the temple of Matehuala (1898), neo-gothic the sanctuary of the Madonna del Carmine in Guadalajara (1898 -99). Within these historical influences, the pre-Columbian past also entered as a component of architectural language and found use specifically in monuments and pavilions: base of the monument to Cuauhtemoc (1878) by FM Jimenez,
The post-revolutionary state swept away the ” European ” eclecticism supported by the architects of the Academy of S. Carlos during the presidency of P. Díaz, promoting a new culture in search of its own identity. Thus arose an important movement, supported by the Secretary of Education, Vasconcelos, characterized by two orientations: the first traced the identity in the pre-Columbian past (Mexican pavilion in Seville, 1929, and monument in la Raza, Mexico City, 1944, by Mexico Amabilis); the second instead started from the recovery of the colonial legacy (colonial architecture in its time had absorbed the indigenous one), and, taking up formal and constructive elements, paved the way for a radical transformation thanks to its simplicity, both plastic and economic. In the works that were then built, the moment of transition is evident: the Mexican pavilion in Brazil (1922), the B. Juarez school (1924), the secretariat of Health (1926) in Mexico City, by C. Obregòn Santacilia; the Institute of Hygiene (Mexico City 1925) and the Huipilco sanatorium (1928), by J. Villagràn; the first residential complexes in Mexico City (1926-30), by J. Segura; and L. Barragàn’s early projects in Guadalajara feature plants in mirror symmetry, steel structures covered with stone and a decoration that, although geometric and simple, continues the academic tradition.
Around 1926 the writings of Le Corbusier arrived in Mexico, and at the beginning of the Thirties modern architecture broke out, with works characterized by a simple and bare style and the use of innovative construction techniques and materials, such as reinforced concrete. Among the architects of the period, J. Legarreta, E. Yañez and J. O’Gorman emerged for their progressive radicalism, who in 1932 won the competition for the minimum worker house. Starting from that year, several works were created based on the concepts of a new ” poor ” architecture, that is functional and austere.
From this period, in Mexico City, the building of the Minimal Apartments of Martì (1934) by Yañez; the building of the National Institute of Cardiology of J. Villagran (1937); the seat of the Mexican Electricians Union (1938) in Yañez; the Confederation of Mexican Workers (1939) by R. Cacho and A. Arai. If the Thirties saw the consolidation of the functionalist movement, in the Forties, following the economic growth and development of the cities, the need for services and equipment was created. The state promoted the ‘modernization’ required in various sectors by activating national construction programs, mostly carried out in Mexico City: multi-family residential groups Miguel Alemàn (1949) and Benito Juarez (1952); de la Raza hospitals (1942) and Tuberculosos (1943); modernization of the markets with reinforced concrete roofs, La Merced, Lagunilla and Jamaica (1956). The new institutions that arose following the restructuring of the state were accommodated in as many new buildings: Mejicano del Seguro Social Institute (1947), Secretarìa de Recursos Hidraulicos (1948), Comunicaciones y Obras Pùblicas (1948), Secretarìa de Trabajo (1954).
Although during the 1940s and early 1950s architecture progressively moved away from the influence of Le Corbusier and turned rather to figures such as Gropius and Mies Van der Rohe, all this always took place while respecting the cultural characteristics of the country. There is an example of this in the University City (1947-52), where the desire to respect a specifically Mexican character, according to the principles upheld by the aforementioned Vasconcelos, Secretary of Education in the 1920s, is captured in the plastic integration of work of architects, painters and sculptors. The general plan, set up by Mexico Pani and E. del Moral, structured around large orthogonal squares, supports the great diversity of particular buildings: the National Library of J. O’Gorman covered with mosaics, the stadium of Perz Palacios, with furnishings by D. de Rivera, the Tower of Sciences by R. Cacho. Works such as the Latin American Tower (1950), the central airport of Mexico City, and the early realizations of R. Marcos, E. Canal, J. Sordo Madaleno, A. Zabludovsky, V. Kaspe and AH Alvarez bring the architecture Mexican towards international functionalism. In contrast, the houses of three architects, Barragàn, del Moral and O’Gorman, continue the search for their own local language and for this reason they are generally not appreciated by international critics, asphyxiated by the functionalist current. Marcos, E. Canal, J. Sordo Madaleno, A. Zabludovsky, V. Kaspe and AH Alvarez bring Mexican architecture towards international functionalism. In contrast, the houses of three architects, Barragàn, del Moral and O’Gorman, continue the search for their own local language and for this reason they are generally not appreciated by international critics, asphyxiated by the functionalist current. Marcos, E. Canal, J. Sordo Madaleno, A. Zabludovsky, V. Kaspe and AH Alvarez bring Mexican architecture towards international functionalism. In contrast, the houses of three architects, Barragàn, del Moral and O’Gorman, continue the search for their own local language and for this reason they are generally not appreciated by international critics, asphyxiated by the functionalist current. For Mexico 2014, please check thesciencetutor.org.
In the early 1960s, half of the 35 million Mexicans lived in cities and the state used foreign credit to finance public spending and support service works and urban development. Large residential settlements date back to this phase (of which the best example is Nonoalco-Tlaltelolco , by Mexico Pani, in Mexico City) and the museums of History, Modern Art and Anthropology and History, all in the wood of Chapultepec ( 1963). In this period the architecture of Barragàn was established, which had always opposed the International Style: residential settlements Fuentes de la Arboleda (1959-62), Los Clubes (1963-64), the Egerström House (1967), the Camino Real hotel (1968). In recent years, works of considerable importance were created on the occasion of the 1968 Olympics: among them the Palazzo dello Sport by F.
In the 1970s, the state oriented its construction policy to the creation of public investment programs. New institutions and organizations were founded to improve the working class home: by the Instituto del Fondo Nacional de Vivienda para los Trabajadores (INFONAVIT), twenty-five thousand houses were built a year from 1972 to 1976 (residential units El Rosario and Iztacalco in Città of Mexico). Programs for nursery schools, hospitals, buildings for culture and education are also carried out (Collegio del Mexico di T. Gonzalez de Leòn and A. Zabludovsky, 1975, in Mexico City). In this period there is an intention of ” institutional monumentalism ” which has its apex in the Military College (1974-76, Mexico City) and is also reflected in the private initiative dazzled by the mirage of oil wealth. With this in mind, the shopping centers with offices and apartments (Centro Perisur by J. Sordo Madaleno and JA Wiechers, Mexico City 1981) were set up at the beginning of the 1980s; the Legislative Palace (1980); the Pemex Tower (1980-82); the Alfa cultural centers (1978); the Tamayo Museum (1980) and the Contemporary Art Center (1982), financed by private initiative.
International debt and the 1985 earthquake ended this period. After the earthquake, forty thousand new houses had to be built in one year; just as many were restructured, highlighting the importance of collective work and a technology chosen on the basis of existing capabilities.