10 Mexican architects who transformed Mexico
All students, whether they are studing to become an architecture master in Europe or in Latin America, dream of becoming famous by creating their own masterpiece.
Let’s talk about projects of the most renowned Mexican architects, who changed the structure of the city and performed monumental architectural feats.
Mexican architecture is eclectic and full of contrast of different eras and styles. Many architects have transformed the country and have monuments that will make them immortal in our memory. Some are foreigners like Adamo Boari, who made such relevant works as the Palacio de Bellas Artes or the Palacio de Correos. However, the works of the most important Mexican architects also stand out for the way in which they transformed Mexico.
Engineer Pedro Ramírez Vázquez built a large part of the most representative monuments of Mexico City.
He was president of the National College of Architects, director of the Artistic and Cultural Unit of the Bosque, director of construction of buildings of the Ministry of Public Education, general manager of the Administrative Committee of the Federal School Construction Program, the coordinator of works in the State of Mexico, founding Rector of the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM).
He is considered one of the most prolific architects in Mexico. He won countless awards and accolades. His most significant works are the National Museum of Anthropology, the Azteca Stadium, the New Basilica of Guadalupe, and the Legislative Palace of San Lázaro.
Mario Pani was a promoter of functionalist architecture and his works have an international style.
In total he carried out 136 projects encompassing houses, commercial buildings and airports. He was highly criticized for the Tlatelolco Housing Unit project, in which he destroyed part of the pre-Hispanic remains and altered the soil studies in order to continue construction.
This architect was the forerunner of many Mexican architectural movements. He designed the first international hotel in Mexico, the first multi-family, the first condominium, and the first large city known as Ciudad Satélite.
To Pani we owe a large part of what we now know as the Valley of Mexico: University City and its Rectory tower; the Nonoalco Tlatelolco Complex, the Juárez and Miguel Alemán multifamily houses, and the Paseo de la Reforma condominium, the Normal School of Teachers, the National Conservatory of Music and the Plaza Hotel on the Reforma-Insurgentes crossing.
In addition, around the Republic, Pani organized plans and projects to redesign the structure of the states. He planned the South-East organization of Mexico City, the industrial zone of Guadalajara, the regional one of Acapulco, and the henequen zone of Yucatan.
His relevance was so great that in 1946 he founded the College of Architects of Mexico and was an international jury for the Sao Paolo Biennial in 1951. He received the Grand Prize from the National Academy of Architecture in 1986.
Although Luis Barragán designed impressive buildings, his real title says engineer, since when he returned to Mexico the Escuela Libre de Ingeniería no longer gave architect degrees, for what he always signed as an engineer, architect or even landscape architect.
He is the only Mexican who has won the Pritzker Prize, awarded in 1980, which recognizes the best architects in the world.
Among his most important projects is the urbanization of the Pedregal de San Ángel, the Ortega house, his house built in 1947.
From 1955 to 1969 he restored the Capuchinal Convent of the Sacramentarias in Tlalpan; in 1957 he made one of his most famous works: the Satellite Towers, together with Mathias Goeritz.
The highest point of his career was when the Modern Art Museum in New York held an exhibition in 1976 entitled “The architect Luis Barragán”, which catapulted him to receive the national architecture award that same year.
However, the most unusual recognition of his career was the acquisition of the second Pritzker Prize in history.
O’Gorman was one of the architects who introduced functionalist architecture to Mexico, which sought to accommodate spaces so that their use was more appropriate. In this way, O’Gorman created the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Studio House, and the Anahuacalli Museum.
He participated in the construction of the Central Library of Ciudad Universitaria with the construction of the 4 thousand square meter murals on its exterior walls. Surrealist pictorial works and self-portraits are also found in his career.
Ricardo Legorreta studied at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Legorreta’s work is based on the handling of proportions, the creation of elementary spaces, intense color, and the forcefulness of structural and architectural elements.
He seeks to incorporate traditional architecture to current trends, and to paintings and sculptures by relevant artists such as Rufino Tamayo, José Luis Covarrubias, Vicente Rojo, and Javier Marín.
The Camino Real Hotel in Mexico City in Polanco is one of his most representative works and the first he made for the hotel chain. When he carried out the project for Ricardo Montalbán’s house in Los Angeles, his career became international. Among his most relevant works are the BBVA Bancomer Tower.
He obtained the National Prize of Sciences and Arts in the area of Fine Arts by the Mexican government in 1991 and in 2011 the Imperial Prize of the Art Association of Japan.
He also carried out works such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey, the Master Plan for Huatulco, the Hotel Las Brisas in Acapulco, the Interactive Museum Laberinto de las Ciencias y las Artes in San Luis Potosí, the Division of Graduate Studies and Specializations in Economics of the UNAM and many more.
Juan Sordo Madaleno studied architecture at UNAM. He was a Mexican architect who brought the International Style essence to Mexico and brought modernity to the country in the second half of the 20th century.
His works were around the entire city and transformed the capital with shopping centers and hotels. He designed the Plaza Universidad, Plaza Satélite, and Torre Contigo.
Juan Sordo Madaleno himself affirmed that what interested him was the internationalization of both the forms and the construction techniques. According to Sordo Madaleno, “Mexico, probably more than any country in the world, has assimilated this phenomenon due to its geographical position as the center of the new continent. Mexican architecture, we can assure you, has a clear international sense.
However, within this international sense, Mexicanity differs, the product of the fusion of two cultures. Unfortunately, the Mexican architect, with few exceptions, thinks little about the techniques and even less about the investigation of the advances achieved in other countries ”.
He is one of the most important contemporary architects. The magazine Obras recognized Sánchez as one of the 40 most influential contemporary architects of the last 40 years.
It has projects such as the new wing of the Spain Cultural Center, the Hotel Condesa, and the Amsterdam Tower on Avenida Insurgentes.
He designed many buildings in the Roma and Condesa colonies, the Museo del Estanquillo, the Casa de las Ajaracas, the Claustro de Sor Juana University and has international projects such as Greenhouse in China.
He was the winner of the silver medal at the XI Biennial of Mexican Architecture.
Founding partner of Rojkind arquitectos, one of the 10 avant-garde architecture firms according to the Architectural record in 2005.
In 2011, Wallpaper magazine named him one of 150 creatives most important of the last 15 years.
In 2010, he was named “Faces to Watch” by the Los Angeles Times.
The magazine Negocios ProMéxico named him one of the 50 Mexican Names in the Global Creative Scene. In addition, he was listed as one of the Treasury Architects of the Civil Registry and cited as “one of the most influential architects in the contemporary Mexican scene” by Forbes magazine.
He carried out works such as the Falcón Headquarters in San Ángel, the Chocolate Museum, and the remodeling of the National Cinematheque in Mexico City. In 2002, he won the Cemex Architecture Award for Casa F2 and was recognized as the future of architecture in Mexico by A + U magazine in Japan.
They worked together on almost all of their projects in Mexico City. González de León takes up pre-Hispanic elements in his works and is famous for the use of chiseled concrete, which has led many to call him a brutalist.
Thanks to him, in Mexico they began to carry out works based on architectural thought based on the honesty of the material, the simplicity of composition, and abstraction. He was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, the Academy of Arts, the International Academy of Architecture, and the National College.
Abraham Zabludovsky built more than 200 works in Mexico and the world. His work shows the characteristics of the place, seeks its own language characterized by the revaluation of the wall and the search for durable textures. Like González de León, Zabludovsky uses the technique of chiseled concrete in marble as a reference to the traditional Mexican world.
Together they carried out some of the most representative works of the city such as the remodeling of the National Auditorium, the University Museum of Contemporary Art of UNAM, the Embassy of Mexico in Brasilia, the Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art, and the central offices of INFONAVIT. González de León built the Reforma 222 building and the Zabludovsky Biblioteca México La Ciudadela building.
In contemporary architecture, Tatiana Bilbao has excelled with her sustainable architecture projects, for which she received an award in Paris in 2014 and the Prize for the arts in Berlin.
Some of her constructions in Mexico are the Culiacán Botanical Garden, where she fled from any classical structure, and the headquarters of the Monterrey Technological Institute, in that same city.
In Chiapas, she works with a finance company developing a low-cost housing model for rural spaces and small lots, and in Aguascalientes, she works on the realization of a housing master plan.
In the international arena, Tatiana created the Exhibition Hall in Jinhua, China, and has five more projects in Europe.