One of the most distinctive buildings on the Mexico City skyline, the Insignia Tower has had a complicated life.
Finished in 1962, the Mario Pani-designed skyscraper was intended to house the National Bank of Public Works (Banobras). It did so until the 1985 when, with the earthquake, the building was entirely abandoned.
This is not entirely easily explained. The 1985 earthquake caused catastrophic loss of life in some of Mario Pani’s most prominent residential buildings. Pani’s reputation as the Faust of mid-2oth-century Mexico City architecture came crashing down, too. Total recovery in the larger Nonoalco-Tlatelolco housing project has never been fully achieved, and while few buildings stand entirely empty, the demolition of so many others lingers in the spirit of those that remain.
The Insignia Tower, though, was undamaged in the earthquake. Inspected, rehabbed, and inspected again and again, it’s officially considered one of the safest tall buildings in the city, but like its neighborhood, the tower’s fortunes have flagged and faded over time.
In 2008, the building was acquired by American real estate company, Cushman & Wakefield. They performed extensive remodeling, rechristened the building Corporativo Tlatelolco, and have been renting major office spaces there ever since 2011. They’ve undoubtedly benefited some by successful developments, not too far away, in the Vasconcelos Library and the Forum Buenavista shopping center, and Suburbano train station.
A carillon, a gift from the government of Belgian to Mexico City, is installed in the building’s apex, and on rare occasions, you will hear its rather mournful chimes calling out to the late evening. With 47 bronze bells, it weighs 26 tons, and at 125 meters, it’s the tallest carillon tower in the world.
On the Insurgentes side of the tower is the Metrobús station, Manuel González (line 1), although Metro stations Buenavista and Tlatelolco are only slightly further away.