The Church of Guadalupe Reina del Trabajo is the true standout between Clavería and Nueva Santa Maria. The neighborhoods on either side are rightly proud of their own somewhat older churches. But in Obrera Popular, traditionally the more working class of the three neighborhoods, residents waited and got a true work of 20th-century religious architectural greatness.
The building was begun 1962 and only finally finished some ten years later. The soaring roof went up first. Then the sides and the main façade were added, although a 26-meter bell tower was never completed. The structure was immediately hailed just for accommodating the then-enormous congregation and for doing so without breaking their budget. Services, when the church first opened, were often attended by more than 1,000 parishioners.
The design for the building was by the architect Alberto González Pozo. He’s most famous for the Guadalupe Chapel in the El Rosedal in Coyoacán. But this one helped to seal his reputation.
The striking stained glass window, arguably the most famous part of the building, is by architect Giulia Cardinale. Cardinale was a distinguished professor, like González Pozo, for several decades at the Faculty of Architecture of the UNAM.
Today, walks in the neighborhood are rewarded with a visit to this otherwise little-known church. It’s gigantic size recalls a time in the not-so-distant past, when people would gather here in what is, still, a celebratory and exalted atmosphere.
All photos this page: Catedrales e Iglesias/Cathedrals and Churches, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Ivan San Martín Córdova, 2016, Estructura, abstracción y sacralidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México