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UNAM Rectory

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UNAM Rectory
Photo: Adrián Cerón on Wikimedia Commons

 

The UNAM Rectory building is the administrative center of the National University. It’s visible from most parts of the campus. The building is especially beloved for the three sculptural mural works. These are by David Alfaro Siqueiros.

• Las fechas en la historia de México o el derecho a la cultura. (Dates in the history of Mexico, or the Right to Culture)
• Nuevo símbolo universitario/Nuevo emblema universitario (New Symbol or Emblem of the University). This is the smaller and higher of the two works.
• El pueblo a la universidad, la universidad al pueblo. Por una cultura nacional neohumanista de profundidad universal.
(The people to the university, the university to the people. For a national, neo-humanist culture of universal depth.)

The building needs to be seen, too, as a Modernist architectural triumph. A quadrangular prism of glass facades, the UNAM Rectory is built merely of reinforced concrete columns and slabs. Stairways, elevators, and service areas are closed with blind cubes that provided Siqueiros with his canvas. The building reflects much of the influence of Le Corbusier. But the almost complete reliance on concrete reminds us that structural steel components could simply not be acquired fast enough for the project to proceed.

The building is the work of Mario Pani, Enrique del Moral, and Salvador Ortega Flores. Distinctly Mexican in probably every aspect, it’s among the most important architectural works on the campus.

 

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