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Architecture Monday

February 29, 2016

This is a tough one to grasp through photos. I visited here in 1995, and the effect, as is often the case I’d say, is far more visceral and potent than seeing a picture. Physically standing in the space has way more effect.

Here, and that space, is the courtyard of Mexico City’s Museum of Anthropology. It’s a fairly simple courtyard, on the whole. But the whole is created including a massive “umbrella” that floats above you, held only by a single, central, sculpted pillar, around which water pours from an oculus above.

And it is the way that umbrella is fashioned that gives this space its mighty feels. What could just be another mundane covered courtyard is instead transformed by the fact that the roof does not touch the buildings, and the buildings themselves also do not touch. It is a collection of disparate planes, all hovering near each other, letting light, sound, and wind, traverse through the courtyard.

That gap absolutely brings your attention to the mass seemingly suspended above your head ad creating that altogether different experience: compression, elongation, solidity and security mixed with peril, delight, amusement, and a call to explore.

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