Art Decay

House Wreck

I take plenty of photos of architecture in Mexico City. And beyond, when I get the chance. I just like the lines, colours, character, stories and even personalities that buildings have. The time and trouble that went into making them. I photograph new buildings, old buildings, glass building, concrete buildings. Colonial and contemporary. Art Deco and Art Devoid. Shining frontages and peeling paint.

Can you guess where I was stood when I took the photo of the building above? Somewhere slightly down trodden, you might think. A somewhat unsalubrious neighbourhood. Actually, I was just across from the Benito Juarez Monument, by Parque Alameda. A one minute walk to Bellas Artes in one direction, or a minute to Reforma the other direction. This building sits right next to the giant glass shod Hilton hotel. This is prime real estate in Mexico City.

And yet this building, like so many within a stone’s through, is neglected, run down, heading for a date with a bulldozer. I’d love to be a property developer at times like this. The building has style. It is no art deco masterpiece, but it has potential. And it wouldn’t cost a fortune to bring it back to life. A good lick of paint. Some new glass for the windows. Some subtle upward lighting to highlight it’s edges and the fabulous art deco styled letters I’d use to spell out the buildings name – Edeficio Garrapata, perhaps. Oh, and the ornate sunburst design I’ll slap on the front.

That penthouse, with the balcony – what a fabulous place to live. High enough to dim the noise. Not so high that you can’t still look up at Torre Latino Americano. With a view of Mexico City life 24/7. And the resale price would be enormous. Ok. Dream time over. We’ll have to wait and see who win. The developer with the bulldozer. The philanthropist with a love for art deco. Or time, with it’s power to rot anything.


6 thoughts on “Art Decay

    • I have no idea to be honest. It’s not Polanco, but it is still occupying a fair footprint of land right on a pretty famous street. I wouldn’t imagine it’d be cheap.


  1. Obet says:

    Some years back I was walking almost every day on Av Juarez, so I know well that building, it’s on a perfect location, the owner of that building must be a perfect idiot. I have fantasy dreams about living in that building every time I pass near of it.


    • I’ve been thinking about the place for half the day. I’ve come up with a fantastic concept. Return the exterior to it’s former glory….nay, bring it up to date with decor that is superior to its former glory!

      And then for the interior. A hostel? A cafe? Or is there room in the marketplace for one more museum in Mexico City? Hell, blend all three into one!

      The first two floors can be the Museum of Modern Media – a showcase of blogs, Flickr photos, You Tube videos. I’m thinking of plenty of sitting space, with walls covered in projector slideshows, framed photos and all sorts. My mind is going into overdrive thinking of all the possibilities! But best of all, it can be a participatory museum. As well as making use of Creative Commons licensed content, and invited content, let visitors plug into parts of the displays and contribute. There and then.

      A couple of floors of cool dorm rooms for backpackers and shoestring trippers, topped off with that penthouse cafe complete with internet stations.

      Now, I just need to find however many millions of pesos to make my dream a reality…..


  2. That’s the area that was worst damaged by the 1985 earthquake. It’s a long process, between finding the owners (many of whom are dead), and going through the condemnation process. Most of that area was slated for renovation only in 2002-03 (when the new Foreign Ministry complex and the new hotels were built) but there have been budgetary problems (and the District’s budget depends on the Federal government, which is controlled by an opposition party), compounded by the very real problem of squatters who have no where else to live and need to be resettled. There was still an temporary housing encampment (basically, garden sheds) in the neighborhood as late as 2003, cleared out for luxury apartments.


    • That did occur to me…..I was recalling your comment on an old post of mine while I was writing it. A part of me wants to think that those in authority would have had these issues sorted out by now…we’re coming up to the 25th anniversary after all. Another part of me remembers where I am….


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