Mexico City

Colonial Conundrums

I’m sure I’ve seen a photo of this old house on someone’s blog before. I don’t remember where. It’s on one corner of Plaza Rio de Janeiro. I love old colonial architecture, but the level of maintenance or disrepair can go to extremes. This one sits at the unhappy extreme. I doubt it’s even a viable restoration project.

One more big quake and it may come down. If it lasts that long. It’s a shame. The detailing of some of the stonework is still in excellent condition. It would be nice if any potential new owner tried to salvage anything that is salvageable, such as the ornamental stonework and railings, and use them on the façade of a new building on the spot.

Colonial Collapse

Then there is the photo of a grand old building below. The church of Saint Augustin, and once upon a time the home of the National Library.  The photo was taken circa 1895, and is hosted on Flickr by the Cornell University Library. But that’s all I know about it. I’ve done a little research but can’t put a definitive location to it. Anybody know?

CUL have made available a whole load of great old snaps of Mexico City, and Mexico in general, which I have stumbled across before, but was reminded of their existence courtesy of the nefarious author of Burro Hall. I have made a gallery on Flickr of some of my favourite Mexico City shots.

Old photos always look great. They have a certain flawed quality to them that’s eyecatching and that stimulates the imagination. I can’t go back in time to get some old shots, although I might do the next best thing one day with an old Olympus Pen film camera.

Until then I am limited to trying to create aged looking photos using filters with Photoshop. Sometimes the results are quite pleasing. I have a set of photos where I’ve tried creating different aged looks, whether from the 1970’s or the 1870’s. I must try and add some more shots to that collection soon.


8 thoughts on “Colonial Conundrums

  1. Bob says:

    The “Antigua Biblioteca Nacional” is located in the intersection of Isabel La Católica and República de Uruguay, in downtown Mexico City.




  2. Kim G says:

    I’ve long lusted after that house in Plaza Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately, apart from disassembling the facade brick by brick and rebuilding, it truly is beyond repair. But if you peek in, you can see it was a truly wonderful building in its day.

    As for the Biblioteca Nacional, it has been closed for years, another victim of the ’85 terremoto. F and I were lucky enough one day to get beyond the wall and take some pictures. The carvings on the facade are amazing.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we inhabit a 93 year-old house, but long for something older.


  3. Pingback: — Mexipundit

  4. Pingback: Biblioteca Nacional | The Mexile

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