The Explanada Cuauhtémoc is the esplanade surrounding the Cuauhtémoc seat of local government. It’s one of the most visited of the 16 local government campuses in Mexico City. This is partly explained by it’s proximity to the popular Deportivo Cuauhtémoc, just to the north. But it’s also reflective of the area’s importance. As an alternative to the Zócalo, it’s much smaller, but hosts many of the same annual events: El Grito (September 15), Christmas, and others.
The building dates only to the 1970s when a territorial reform created the 16 delegations of Mexico City that we see today. (They’ve been called alcaldías since 2016.) The 1970 reform created the four central delegations, Cuauhtémoc, Venustiano Carranza, Miguel Hidalgo, and Benito Juárez. It also delineated 12 others and gave each of the 16 equal weight within the City.
At that time, the giant Tlatelolco-Nonoalco Housing Unit to the north had already been inhabited for some years. This is another stretch of the giant old train yards. This part remained empty and was the only place big enough to house both the administrative headquarters, and a recreational facility (the Deportivo).
The new building was designed by architect Teodoro González de León in 1972. In these pages, he’s best known for designing the Museo Rufino Tamayo, for co-designing the National Auditorium, and for the Reforma 222 shopping and residential center. But the dates of the opening of the MUAC Contemporary Art Museum reveal a very long career indeed. The MUAC opened just in 2008. The architect’s earliest projects date from the 1950s.
Today’s Cuauhtémoc Esplanade faces some stiff competition. Obviously, the center of Mexico City still acts as the seat of the Federal Government, and the nation. Cuauhtémoc is but a local government seat, albeit, one within a very important federal entity. Visitors from abroad will find a lot of wide-open space. Even if one doesn’t have business inside, the esplanade itself marks a pleasant break from the many busy surrounding streets. In the Colonia Buenavista, the Cuauhtémoc seat of local government is just west of the Colonia Guerrero.