The Proyecto Público Prim is an events venue in two magnificent historic buildings. The space is likely best-known for the Salón ACME which coincides with Art Week in early February of each year. But Prim has also been popular for festivals celebrating electronic music, fashion, and photography.
The project consists of two side-by-side former mansions. These stand nearly in the shadow of the Gobernación building which has its own later history. The two are at General Prim numbers 30 and 32 just around the corner from the Avenida Bucareli. The Project Space has, in fact, been a big part of the revitalization of the larger Bucareli corridor.
The project space also hosts a number of creative workshops and showrooms and a small number guest rooms.
- General Juan Prim y Prats (1814–1870) was a Spanish general and statesman. He was briefly sent to Mexico as part of the Spanish and British expeditionary force supporting the French Intervention. Soon after arriving though, he negotiated the withdrawal of both forces in the face of the more aggressive French. He returned to Spain and is there celebrated for his participation in the Glorious Revolution of 1868. He was assassinated while serving as Prime Minister of Spain.
- General Prim No. 30 was built on land purchased by the Archbishop Eulogio Gregorio Gillow and an engineer named Alberto Robles Gil. The project began in 1905 as a residence for Robles Gil. Although he lived there with his wife for some 30 years, by 1938, the house was sold to serve as the offices of La Tabacalera Mexicana. It was later rented to the Dondé Foundation, and in 1976, to a glass dealer. It was later abandoned entirely. In 2014, the structure was rehabbed by th e Taller de las Artes de Prim, who included a team of architects and civil engineers. A greenhouse roof was designed Alberto Kalach.
- General Prim No. 32 stands on a property purchased by Dr. José Ignacio Capetillo from the Archbishop in 1932. His family began construction of an apartment building contracting the architect Manuel Gorozpe. His eclectic design was completed in 1906. The family is thought to be among the first of the Porfiriato-era bourgeoisie to live in the Colonia Juárez. In the next few years, it would blossom into the era’s most prosperous neighborhood. But over the course of the 20th century, the building went through multiple owners and even more tenants. By the 1970s, it was occupied by squatters and eventually entirely vacant.
Today both buildings are marvels of preservation. Multi-layered and textured, they invite a thoughtful trip into a not-so-distant past. And as Proyecto Público Prim frequently hosts high-profile events, they are appreciated and enjoyed today as perhaps they’d never been in the past, at least since their original owners departed.