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Survey of Modernism in Mexico, Part 1: A Revolutionary Movement

The indigenous people of Mexico created some of the most impressive and distinctive ancient architecture in the world, but the country suffered something of an identity crisis after its colonization in the 1500s. For several hundred years, the architecture and arts of Mexico were predominantly shaped by European leaders and influencers. That is, until the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

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Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City, designed by Émile Bénard and Carlos Obregón Santacilia in 1911. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By the time the revolution ended in 1917, a new government and intense national pride called for revolutionary ideals in architecture, art, and culture. Architects like Luis Barragán and Felix Candela introduced ideas of modernism to a society that was hungry for a beautiful change. From the 1920s onward, the face of Mexico began to change as government agencies and the wealthy private sector commissioned new architecture in both International and Modern styles, all while maintaining a distinctly Mexican approach. The movement grew and thrived as Mexico was transformed from a beaten-down people into one of the most successful and advanced countries in Latin America.

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Centro Urbano Presidente Miguel Alemán in Mexico City, designed by Mario Pani and Salvador Ortega Flores – 1947. Photo courtesy of Arquine.

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Casa Avenida Conscripto 100 in Mexico City, designed by Juan Sordo Madaleno in 1953. Photo courtesy of Sordo Madaleno Architectos.

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Casas gemelas para ingenieros azucareros in Veracruz, México by Felipe Salido Torres and el Ing. Joachim Aguerrebere – 1955. Photo courtesy of Una Vida Moderna.

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Iglesia de la Santa Cruz in San Luis Postosi, México by Enrique de la Mora and Félix Candela – 1967. Photo courtesy of Una Vida Moderna.

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Estadio Deportivo de Ciudad Universitaira in Mexico City, designed by Augusto Pérez Palacios, Jorge Bravo y Raúl Salinas – 1949. Image courtesy of the Archivos de Arquitectos Mexicanos, UNAM.

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Cuadra San Cristóbal in Mexico City by Luis Barragán – 1968.  Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

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Los Manantiales in Mexico City by Felix Candela – 1958. Photo courtesy of Archdaily. 

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Los Manantiales in Mexico City by Felix Candela – 1958. Photo courtesy of Archdaily. 

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Centro Nacional de Investigación y Enseñanza Agrícola in Chapingo, México by Augusto H Álvarez – 1967. Photo courtesy of Una Vida Modernica.

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Casa Gómez in Jardines del Pedregal, México by Francisco Artigas – 1952. Photo courtesy of La Forma Moderna en Latino America.

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House in Lomas de Chapultepec, Mexico by Juan Sordo Madaleno – 1949. Photo by Guillermo Zamora.

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Teatro Cuauhtémocin Juárez, México by Alejandro Prieto Posada – 1963. Photo courtesy of Una Vida Moderna.

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Entrance to the Laboratorios Lederle in Coyoacán, México by Felix Candela – 1956.  Photo courtesy of Una Vida Moderna.

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Biblioteca Central de Ciudad Universitaria in Mexico City by Juan O’ Gorman Colaborador, Gustavo Saavedra, and Juan Martínez de Velasco. 1950. Image courtesy of the Archivos de Arquitectos Mexicanos, UNAM.

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Automex Factory in Lerma, México by Ricardo Legorreta Colaborador – 1963. Photo by Kati Horna.

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