The Centro Cultural El Rule is a giant community and cultural center. It’s virtually in the shadow of the Torre Latinoamericana, and faces the very busiest stretch of Eje Central, the business and commercial corridor. As such, it can be tough to guess where the community and the culture are coming from.
In fact, the most common entrance to the center is on the Avenida Madero. That’s through a piece of the grounds of the old San Francisco Monastery. The most important colonial era monastery, it was intentionally built on top of Moctezuma’s “Casa de las Fieras.” The emperor had maintained, here, a collection of wild animals and birds. Although it’s understood as a menagerie, many of the animals likely fulfilled ritual purposes.
The enormous monastery was divided up in the late 19th century. A two-story building was then built at the beginning of the 20th century.
A Cornish mining magnate, Francisco Rule purchased the building and built three more floors on top. He also included his own surname by which the Edificio El Rule is still known. Rule had earlier built a stately home which is today the municipal palace of Pachuca, the great mining city to the north. He’d donated his business headquarters, the Casa Rule, to the local government upon retiring.
The family then occupied the building straight through the mid-1960s. Rule had died in 1925. It was briefly home to a cinema, but was always enormous enough to be sub-divided and rented for offices. It was however, badly damaged in the 1985 earthquake. In danger of being demolished. Many artists and intellectuals organized to preserve the building in 1992, but the City only designated it a protected building in 2002. With the death of the Colombia author, Gabriel García Márquez, the building’s restoration was finally made possible. His will set aside funds for much of the rehabilitation. To this day, the Rule Cultural Center houses the Casa de Colombia. The Plaza behind the building and which opens onto Madero Avenue was renamed in honor of García Márquez.
In 2014, the Mexico City Secretary of Culture took over the Center and reopened the building as on the of the leading cultural spaces in the Historic Center. Today, in addition to the Casa de Colombia, the Center hosts a gallery for contemporary art exhibitions and a cultural business incubator program.
The Mexico City Government occupies three of the five floors for cultural office. The second floor is home to the El Rule Digital Factory, a space for reflective dialogue about digital culture.
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.