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Architecture as Revolution

Episodes in the History of Modern Mexico

By Luis E. Carranza

Publication Year: 2010

The period following the Mexican Revolution was characterized by unprecedented artistic experimentation. Seeking to express the revolution's heterogeneous social and political aims, which were in a continuous state of redefinition, architects, artists, writers, and intellectuals created distinctive, sometimes idiosyncratic theories and works. Luis E. Carranza examines the interdependence of modern architecture in Mexico and the pressing sociopolitical and ideological issues of this period, as well as the interchanges between post-revolutionary architects and the literary, philosophical, and artistic avant-gardes. Organizing his book around chronological case studies that show how architectural theory and production reflected various understandings of the revolution's significance, Carranza focuses on architecture and its relationship to the philosophical and pedagogic requirements of the muralist movement, the development of the avant-garde in Mexico and its notions of the Mexican city, the use of pre-Hispanic architectural forms to address indigenous peoples, the development of a socially oriented architectural functionalism, and the monumentalization of the revolution itself. In addition, the book also covers important architects and artists who have been marginally discussed within architectural and art historiography. Richly illustrated, Architecture as Revolution is one of the first books in English to present a social and cultural history of early twentieth-century Mexican architecture.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page/Copyright/Dedication

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pp. ii-

Contents

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pp. vii-

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xi

English-speaking readers have not had many opportunities to learn about the architectural culture that characterized Mexico as a result of its Revolution. It is not strange, therefore, that the reaction to the book that one is about to read could be similar to that of the anonymous...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

It seems inevitable that I would have done this work. after all, some of my most vivid childhood memories revolve around the Monument to

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Introduction: Mexico, Modernity, and Architecture after the Revolution

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pp. 2-13

Writing with hindsight in 1950, the poet and critic Octavio Paz best defined the paradox of the Mexican Revolution of 1910–1920. These remarks display the perplexity held for historians, writers, critics—Mexicans or otherwise—about the social and cultural aims, accomplishments, and motives of the Mexican Revolution. The Revolution has been broadly understood as a heterogeneous outpouring of political, economic, and social meanings as well as...

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If Walls Could Talk: José Vasconcelos’ Raza Cósmica and the Building for the Secretaría de Educación Pública

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pp. 15-55

Upon José Vasconcelos’ departure as minister of education in July 1924, the aesthetic and architectural program he initiated for the Secretaría de Educación Pública (sep, the federal Department of Public Education) suffered the most radical reevaluation and reinstitutionalization encountered anywhere of an avant-garde proposal for the reintegration of art and life. Initially conceived as a redemptive pedagogical program for Mexico’s uneducated masses, it was quickly converted into a propaganda tool...

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Chapter 1. If Walls Could Talk: José Vasconcelos’ Raza Cósmica and the Building for the Secretaría de Educación Pública

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pp. 14-55

Upon José Vasconcelos’ departure as minister of education in July 1924, the aesthetic and architectural program he initiated for the Secretaría de Educación Pública (sep, the federal Department of Public Education) suffered the most radical reevaluation and reinstitutionalization encountered anywhere of an avant-garde proposal for the reintegration of art and life. Initially conceived as a redemptive...

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Chapter 2. La Ciudad Falsificada: The Avant-garde and the Literary City

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pp. 56-85

In a late article about Diego Rivera’s mural La Creación, Manuel Maples Arce described its importance in reconceptualizing artistic production: “The work of art had changed not only in the manner it was conceived but also in its function: it is taken from the intimate quality of the salon painting to be placed near the public’s gaze.”1 Maples Arce was present in...

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Chapter 3. Colonizing the Colonizer: The Mexican Pavilion at the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition

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pp. 86-117

In 1928 the third and definitive competition took place to choose the design of the Mexican Pavilion for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition to be held in Seville, Spain. Within the context of the exposition itself, the invitation for Mexico to participate created a strong reaction against the typically imposed colonial structures of international expositions. The location of this exposition furthermore provided Mexico ...

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Chapter 4. Against a New Architecture: Juan O’Gorman and the Disillusionment of Modernism

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pp. 118-167

By 1952, after completing his “primitive cave” house in El Pedregal (Figures 4.1 and 4.2) and the mosaic decorations for the library of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (unam, National University, Figure 4.3), Juan O’Gorman had reconceptualized his personal crisis regarding the appropriateness and need for functional architecture in Mexico. Yet, still...

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Chapter 5. Monumentalizing the Revolution

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pp. 168-200

Juan O’Gorman’s La Ciudad de México (1942, Figure 5.1) presents, in a clear and concise way and without reservations, the fate of architecture in Mexico as the ideals to the Revolution become monumentalized.1 In the painting, O’Gorman’s vantage point is from the Monument to the Revolution—the monument that is, in other words, the Revolution. This metaphor...

Notes

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pp. 201-224

Bibliography

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pp. 225-235

Illustration Credits

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pp. 236-

Index

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pp. 237-241


E-ISBN-13: 9780292793095
E-ISBN-10: 029279309X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292721951
Print-ISBN-10: 0292721951

Page Count: 255
Illustrations: 129 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Roger Fullington Series in Architecture

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Subject Headings

  • Mexico -- History -- Revolution, 1910-1920 -- Monuments.
  • Modernism (Aesthetics) -- Mexico -- History -- 20th century.
  • Architecture -- Mexico -- History -- 20th century.
  • Architecture and society -- Mexico -- History -- 20th century.
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