Originally built as a hospital for injured railroad workers (now THAT’S a union!), today it serves as the library and publishing arm of UNAM, the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
I passed this often as I went from el Centro to the house where I have been staying but it was always closed.
The first thing that caught my eye was the corbelled arches of the windows. (I’m sure you all know the difference between corbelled and Roman arches but just in case – corbelled arches are created by stacking cantilevered stones over a space to make it narrower and then adding a capstone. They are found in Egyptian, Incan, Mayan, and Khmer buildings and many others.
Roman arches used shaped elements that support each other in a curved arc and are held by a keystone.)
The intentional use of them in modern Meso-American architecture when they serve no structural function is a distinct nod to the builder’s predecessors.
One of the pictures is of a pillar in the courtyard. It is a Mayan piece that was discovered on site during the modern renovation.
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