The Utopia Libertad stands at the very north of the old farm fields of San Lorenzo Tezonco. Today that puts it just across the street from the modern colonia Puente Blanco. To the east, the Yuhualixqui Volcano is plainly visible as it is from most of the area.
Libertad is a multi-use sports and cultural facility, one of 12 Utopias in Iztapalapa. Perhaps most importantly, it’s the first one built entirely from recyclable and sustainable materials. Among these are recycled PET plastics, but there’s a fair amount of straw mixed in to create modern adobe. An artful mix of bamboo makes it feel contemporary and even chic. The entire space feels like an alternative environmental retreat. With a giant geodesic dome, the main draw seems to be the traditional temazcal.
The temazcal was an important ritual sauna in use since ancient times. These were outlawed, not entirely successfully, during the Spanish colonial period. The real outrage was that men and women often shared the same spaces – without clothes. Add in some ritual and religious significance and it became too much for the Dominicans and the Franciscans alike. Nevertheless, the temazcal somehow survived, especially in Mexico City’s south and east. Today’s mixed-gender firings will usually see participants donning swimwear.
The Utopia Libertad welcomes residents from all over the area for ongoing classes and continuing education. There are no fewer than 24 classrooms, a digital library, an auditorium with seating for some 400 guests. The open air forum outside seats even more.
Cultural programming is ongoing and integrated with an onsite elder care facility. Classes and learning sessions center around all of the following:
Like most of the Utopia centers, this one is focused on the local community. On site you’ll find a center for Addiction Care, a women’s care home, and lots of relaxation and exercise programs including those for yoga, Tai-Chi and massage.