Mex2010 Blog # 9 DECO

Mex2010 Blog # 9:  Deco                                                     December 8, 2010

The list of reasons why we love Mexico (the country) and Mexico (the city) is too long for a single blog. But up in the top 5, along with our friends, the food, the museums, the cultural life, and the volcanoes, is the architecture. OK, so that’s 6, not 5. When it comes to buildings, Mexico City is one of the least boring cities we have ever lived in.

There are ancient, pre-Columbian remnants like the ruins of the Templo Mayor and the structures out in the lava fields near UNAM, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma Mexicana.

There antique buildings, like all of the colonial churches and mansions that are gradually decaying throughout the Centro Historico.

There are old buildings, like the showplaces of the French occupation and the Porfiriato.

And, the two that most tickle my fancy: the comparatively recent Art Deco and Arte Moderne houses of the 1920s and 30s. And the contemporary mind-bending skyscrapers of the Reforma and Santa Fé.

Deco was one of those eclectic movements that started with a rejection of the curley-Qs of Art Nouveau-modern enthusiasm for straight lines and interesting shapes and then eclected inspiraton from Egyptian and pre-Columbian forms. Lots of trapezoids. Lots of sculpted tile insets that look like they might have been filched from Luxor or the Yucatan. Alternating concrete and tile arches. Some palatial public buildings, but you can check those out on Google images (try the Palacio de Bellas Artes, for example). Some of our favorite houses, in easy walking distance of our apartment in Escandón.

And then the contemporary! Concentrations on Paseo de la Reforma and in the high eastern suburb of Santa Fe.

Come on down. Bring your wide angle lens. The food is great You’ll find more plays, concerts, ballets, lectures and museums than you can manage in a year. And even if you only walk the streets, you’ll never run out of things to see.

 David & Linda