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The Edificio Balmori is one of the most prominent buildings on the Álvaro Obregón avenue. It was restored between 1991 and 1994 by the architect Juan Pablo Suberbie Cortina. It’s remembered today as one of the most prominent urban restoration and historical preservation projects. In fact, the restoration began after the building was slated for demolition. A group of artists and activists very publicly began a movement to restore the structure. That movement continues to this day at other sites and properties across the city.
The emblematic building was originally built in 1922 by an engineer named Ignacio Capetillo y Servín. He’s best remembered for his work on the Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris. That project had been finished just a few years prior to this one. In fact, the Balmori building had a cinema from 1930 until it fell into disrepair in the later 20th century. Big enough for 1,878 spectators, this part of the building was converted to parking in the 1990s restoration.
The Edificio Balmori is built primarily from quarried stone. It’s served as both a residential and commercial property essentially since it opened. A building entirely of stone is guaranteed to be one of the most luxurious on whatever street it’s found. Critics have noted the building’s combination of Art Nouveau and Neo-Colonial elements, although these are unified in an overwhelmingly French style. The rest of the Colonia Roma Norte has good examples of Belle Époque, Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture all of which survive from the late Porfirato period.
Today, the street level of the building is home to a number of boutiques, galleries and shops, including one named for the building itself. Apartments are still luxurious, including two-story houses and apartments. The courtyard is beloved and one of the most beautiful in this part of the City.