Maya culture transcended many fields and its influence also reached modern architecture under a style known as Maya Revival. This style takes the corbeled arches and cornices, the snake-shaped fretwork and geometric patterns, as well as the ornaments and masks that you have surely admired in the archeological sites and moves them to new buildings, built mainly between 1915 and 1945. Here are some of Mérida’s best-known examples.
The Rendón Peniche Sanatorium
This building currently houses the UNAM’s Centro Peninsular en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales. It was built in 1919 – the work of Yucatecan architect Manuel Amábilis – for the railroad workers. It was abandoned for quite some time after functioning as a hospital and a warehouse.
On its façade there are columns and arches that are reminiscent of Maya sites, it’s also decorated with fretwork that resembles a snake. Inside, you’ll find yourself admiring its columns and corbeled arches.
Calle 43 x 46 La Plancha, Col. Industrial, Mérida
Casa del Pueblo
Opened in May 1928, it’s the work of Italian architect Ángel Bachini. It consists of a main facade divided into three parts and currently houses the offices of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) political party.
At its entrance, several columns that resemble monumental snakes welcome you. It’s also decorated with fretwork, latticework, corbeled arches, and other Maya-inspired motifs on the front of the building, along the corridors, and in the unfinished second floor.
Calle 65 x 48, Centro, Mérida
Parque de las Américas
Built between 1942 and 1945 by the architects Manuel and Max Amábilis, it’s divided into four blocks. In the first one, there is a garden and an open-air theater formed by the acoustical shell and pergolas where you can take phenomenal pictures. The second is a children’s playground. In the third section, you’ll find a monumental fountain decorated with masks and snakes. The final block of the park houses the José Martí library, which has an incredible façade that will surely remind you of Uxmal.
Av. Colón x 20, García Ginerés, Mérida
Other Buildings From This Time:
Diario de Yucatán. Work of the architect Francisco Rubio Ibarra. On its façade, it preserves some Maya Revival elements. Calle 62 #518, Centro, Mérida
General Cemetery. The main entrance presents arches and cornices that are in keeping with this style. Calle 81-A x 90, Centro, Mérida
More recently, other buildings have been built in this style, such as the restaurant “La Tradición” and the Centro de Convenciones Siglo XXI.
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
“Meridana,” traveler, animal lover, passionate reader, commentator, and enthusiastic promoter of the natural and human beauty of Yucatán.
Photographies by Omar Said Charruf and Yucatán Today s for use in Yucatán Today.
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