Saturday, September 19, 2015

Colonia Condesa and Its Sisters - From Past to Present, Part II: 20th Century Kaleidoscope

Our first Colonia Condesa post identified Parque España and Parque México as the "hearts" of Colonia Condesa and its sister neighborhoods—Roma Norte, Hipódromo (Racetrack) and Condesa Hipódromo. We also explored the "bones" of some of these neighborhoods—the shaded, inviting avenues of Oaxaca, Durango and Mazatlán that run around their northern and western sides.

Now we head back to their center, Parque México, in Colonia Hipódromo. When the Colonial hacienda was subdivided at the beginning of the 20th century, the Mexico Jockey Club built a racetrack here. It was closed in the 1920's, and the area was subdivided for homes, but the oval groundplan was preserved in the shape of Parque México and Avenida Amsterdam that circles it one block away.

Colonia Hipódromo, The Racetrack,
with Parque México and
Avenida Amsterdam surrounding it.

This egg-shaped enclosure creates the unique feeling of an embracing, inward-focused space set apart from the city's surrounding bullicio, hubbub.

Fountain and woodland-like stream
in Parque México

Lush shade

Within this space, chilangos, Mexico City residents, come to relax and play.

...of all ages
Fun for children.....

Mascotas, pets, play, too
The Park is a favorite for dog owners

"Beauty parlor for dogs at home"

On Avenida México, which borders the park, we see some familiar architectural friends.

California Colonial home

But we also encounter a strikingly different esthetic.

Art Deco of 1930's and 40's

The presence of Art Deco buildings marks a clear transition to a post-Revolution, modern era that sought to leave behind a conservative past with its Neoclassic and Spanish Colonial Revival tastes.

Walking one short block outward from the Parque brings us to Avenida Amsterdam and other echos and transformations of the eras encapsulated in the last century.

Avenida Amsterdam: Kaleidoscope of the 20th Century

Avenida Amsterdam follows the original racetrack. Running along its center is a camellón, meridian, full of trees and tropical plants that turn this oval street into its own park, a circular boulevard that absolutely beckons you to stroll along it.

As we saunter along this path, we are struck by the constantly changing, three-dimensional kaleidoscope of 20th century esthetics opening around us.

Modern "castle"
Art Deco


California Colonial apartments


Art Deco
Even Buckminster Fuller!

California Colonial

French Second Empire

Art Deco

French/Neocolonial combo?

Art Deco

 International vis-a-vis Art Nouveau

Art Deco Update

Neoclassic touch
California Colonial vis-a-vis International

Spanish Neocolonial

Anybody's Guess

This mansion has it all!
Gothic Revival, Moorish Revival, California Colonial

It's time to take a rest after this meander through the architectural kaleidoscope. 

Popocatépetl Plaza

The perfect retreat is Popocatépetl Plaza, between the north ends of Parque México and Avenida Amsterdam, where we enjoy its Moorish Revival pavilion.

Here we end our ambles through the various colonias founded at the end of the Porfirato. Encompassing more than a hundred years of architectural styles, these rambles have enabled us to witness the evolution of upper-class Mexican tastes across the entire 20th century—the shift from emulating 19th century European esthetics to embracing the International style of 21st century global culture.

In terms of Mexican history, we have passed from the reign of Porfirio Díaz to the post-Revolution period. Our next explorations focus on seeking out how the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) was expressed in the architecture and public art of Mexico City.

Delegación Cuauhtémoc

The "Porfirian" Colonias line the West Side of Delegación Cuauhtémoc
From north to south they are:
Santa Maria la Ribera (violet)
San Rafael (medium pink)
Cuauhtémoc, (medium blue triangle)

South of Paseo de la Reforma
Benito Juárez (horizontal triangle of three adjacent pink sections)
Roma Norte (light blue) (Doctores, to the east, is a separate colonia)
Roma Sur (darker blue)

And to the Southwest (lower left):
Condesa (medium pink)
Condesa Hípódromo (dark pink)
Hípódromo (pale pink)

Centro, and its Five Sub-divisions (Historico, North, East, South, West)
 is to the right center (almost white)

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