Sunday, April 19, 2015

Architectural Tour of Monterrey Centro

Friends of ours are architects that teach at the state university.   They posted on FB that they were giving a walking tour class to their students and it was open to the public.   We decided it would be a good thing to get out of the house and clear our heads.   We stopped for tacos first and then went to the Colegio Civil which is now the University Autonomo de Nuevo Leon.  The original building dates back to the 1850s and was remodeled again in 1933.   

The pictures are not in order, not sure what Blogger did to them but I'll leave them this way.  Our friend Elisa and her husband Carlos worked on the restoration of the building since 2008.  They traveled to Mexico City to find the original plans for the building, spoke with experts familiar with this period of architecture and learned the ways of doing the work and having other famous people who did nothing be recognized.  

This is the theater built in the middle of the school.   Colegio Civil was originally a fortress during the American and French invasions, then it was converted into a hospital and finally a university where Spaniards and high level indigenous leaders studied here in the north.

That's Elisa in the middle with the pink top and black tights explaining how the theater was restored to its orginal condition.  It took someone famous, Dolores Del Rio a Mexican actress very famous in the 40s and 50s in Hollywood, to come for a theatrical presentation to make changes to the original structure. 

Parque Alameda, where I have never taken any visitors and shame on me for not doing it.  It was designated a park by Bernardo Reyes governor of Nuevo Leon in 1885.  His idea was to create an open area where residences would be built.  The idea didn't catch on until he waved property taxes for home builders for a 10 year period.   It worked and families came to live.  One of the first urban planning schemes in Mexico.   This park is famous for indigenous Mexicans who come to Monterrey to work in houses as maids and gardners.   They come on Sunday, their day off, and the girls walk in one direction and the boys in the other.  It is not uncommon hear many different languages or dialects on a typical stroll.  Two of the guys who worked for us in Monterrey came from indigenous parts of Mexico and they too spent their Sundays here.

Again, these pictures aren't in order but this is a famous landmark.  It is Clinic 6, the IMSS hospital or universal healthcare hospital located in downtown Monterrey.  Of course we have many IMSS hospitals for transplants, newborns, cancer care, etc.   This hospital is from the Streamline period built in 1950 and is very well-maintained.  I recently joined the universal or social healthcare system here.

Where we had tacos in the morning.  Get this, most of you travel in the south so you understand prices.   We had tacos here.  134 pesos!  Yikes!   That's why we don't eat out often in Monterrey as some of you have witnessed on our tours.

Okay, so this is where our tour started.  The windows were reduced in size in 1933.  Our friend Elisa and her staff had them returned to their original size and returned the balconies that were removed.

Interesting staircase.  It was not like this until the restoration was completed.  Under all the plaster and cement they found the original stonework.  There is no metal support of any kind in the stair case.  All the blocks are placed strategically to support the stairwell.  Also, as they removed the 30s floor tile known as piso de pasta, and many of you are familiar with it which looks like creamy swirls in the floor, the orginal was solid three inch black marble.  The wood handrail and the ironwork is original.

As I said earlier, Colegio Civil is a school today.  Since the thirties many of the arches were used to divide the building into classrooms.  A debate with officials and restorers took place as the school didn't want to lose their classrooms.   So they found a solution.  The removed the 30s walls, returned the blocked archways to their original openings but covered the works with heavy industrial glass allowing division when desired but returning the building to its original condition.

And this is a picture of one lonely cat not to mention his owners.   Little Bit sits in the living room and perks up everytime he hears a noise.   He's waiting for Missy to come home.  I told him but I don't know if he understands.  He won't leave me alone and follows me everywhere.  Poor boy, he doesn't have his pal anymore.   And neither do I.


  1. As a past Architect - thanks for the tour - I enjoyed it. Glad you got out to take the tour. I would have loved to have walked around the Parque Alameda. Sorry LIttle Bit!

  2. A nice tour! I guess Lttle Bit needs a new friend... As do you...