The Story of Mexico’s Lost Buildings

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Seeing any building demolished is sad, but particularly ones with so much history. (https://images.unsplash.com)

Mexico is home to many of the world’s architectural wonders, but some of its most fabulous buildings have been lost to the sands of time. Architecture fanatics flock to cities such as Rome, Barcelona, and London, for their rich architectural history, and one of the reasons why these destinations are so popular is that their historic buildings are remarkably well preserved. Owing to Mexico’s history of earthquakes, many of our would-be colosseums have been brought to the ground. If these buildings were still standing now, would Mexico be the global hub of architecture? It’s not for anyone to say, but it is still worth remembering these remarkable monuments.

Casino de la Selva

One of the most controversial demolitions of recent years was the Casino de la Selva. Constructed in 1931, the hotel was pretty, but not truly remarkable. Its defining characteristics came as part of a later extension by renowned architect Felix Candela. He proposed concrete paraboloid shells for the roof, creating a dramatic facade to the building. Once the interior of the build was complete, it would be the crowning jewel of the project. Famous artist Alfaro Siqueiros was commissioned to create murals for the interior walls. For the next twenty years the Casino de la Selva was a much-loved feature of Cuernavaca, attracting tourists from all over the world.

During the 1970s it was purchased by a company who would unfortunately neglect to pay the bills. Owing to this, after a lengthy battle, the government repossessed the building and auctioned it off in 2001. It was bought as a site for a new supermarket and demolition was planned to commence immediately. On hearing about the demolition, members of the public were outraged. The fantastic murals by Siquieros would be lost. Protests began in the grounds of the casino hotel to save the murals and save the mature trees in the garden. After deliberation, some of the garden was preserved and the murals were moved to permanent collections.

Of course, the Casino de la Selva isn’t the only casino that hit headlines for its demolition. Donald Trump has been responsible for a string of casino collapses, but the one that really captured the attention of the newspapers was the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino. This particular building had been failing for a long time before, like the Casino de la Selva, it found itself up for auction. Whether it’s a case of bad management, or the curse of casino hotels, we may never know.

Mansion de Amado Carrillo

The ceilings in Amado Carrillo’s mansion were truly spectacular. (Photo: Unsplash)

One building that has been visited by far fewer people, but was certainly still magnificent, was the home of Amado Carillo. This Sonora-based mansion was described fondly by many as like something out of Disney’s Aladdin. With towering turrets, elaborately decorated caps and intricate archways, this style of architecture would certainly have looked more at home in the Middle East. Its demolition has caused uproar in the town recently as secret passageways were discovered underneath the building.

Estadio Azul

One building that only a few years ago many would have assumed would be lost forever is the Estadio Azul. As was the case in the demise of all of the hotels mentioned before, the demolition of Estadio Azul was also brought about by late and missed payments. This stadium used to be home to Cruz Azul, a soccer team who’ve played for no less than twenty years on this field.

The stadium was pinned for demolition back in 2018, but as of yet, there has been no start to the works. Though the stadium doesn’t have the turrets of Amado Carillo’s mansion or the murals of the Casino de la Selva, it has an atmosphere that is impossible to recreate. Whilst the venue is still standing it would be wonderful to see Cruz Azul return for one last game in a truly packed stadium.

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