In honor of Cinco De Mayo, the celebration of the unlikely Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, here is a spotlight and brief overview of the colorful and fascinating history of Mexican architecture!
Before any ships sailed from overseas, Central America was ruled by Meso-American empires. Mayan, and later Aztec architecture, revolved around enormous temple complexes and vast cities of stone dotting the Yucatan peninsula and greater geographical area. Huge cities dominated the landscape with towering stone pyramids, sunken ball courts, and tens of thousands of people living in the vast empires. The sheer size and scope of these architectural projects are stunning to this day and are designated World Heritage Sites.
After the Conquistadors landed and laid waste to the area and populace, the Spanish settlers arrived and the architectures of Spain and Meso-America began to fuse. At first, the churches and monasteries of the Spanish settlers kept the Arabic-Spanish architecture of the homeland. But as time went on, local traditions and settler traditions blended into the style known as “Tequitqui”. This style was the local re-imagining of the Spanish style through the lens of Meso-American culture using traditional construction and decorative techniques.
The popularity of Baroque style in the New-Spain period was adopted by the local architectural culture with enthusiasm and blended with the Indian-Arabic influences of the Colonial period alongside the historical Meso-American styles. The ensuing architectural movement is characterized by beautiful, ornate, complex structures with a huge amount of multi-cultural flair from all over the world.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, during the French occupation of Mexico, architecture followed the Parisian movement of urbanization, condensing Mexico’s dotted townscapes into flourishing urban centers. Architecture emphasized Mexico’s modernity and difference from other occupying nations while maintaining its native style. Mexican architecture also saw the rise of Neo-Indigenous architecture to call back to long-standing tradition. This style flourished after the Mexican Revolution as the country threw off the shackles of its colonial past and embraced its pre-colonial history.
Finally, the modern architecture of Mexico is a celebration of its multi-cultural crossroads of a past. Displaying a combination of European, North American, and traditional Mexican architectural styles, Mexican architecture is a highly unique and proud style. Over time, art has become an integral part of modern Mexican architecture with construction elements complementing and harkening to fine art. The architecture also reconciles a past of colonialism and oppression with a desire for a Mexican modernity and resilience.
We know that a great location is important to having a great film. That’s why at Wrapal, we pride ourselves on the diverse architectural styles of our properties, and Mexican architecture is just another part of our ever growing library.
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!