Keywords Change this

Modernism, Murals

Project timeline

1950 – 1956



Location Change this

Ciudad Universitaria, C.P.
04510 México Mexico City

Current state


Architect Change this

Central Library UNAM Change this

Mexico City, Mexico
by Juan O'Gorman Change this
1 of 7

Description Change this

Central Library (UNAM Biblioteca Central), is the main library in the Ciudad Universitaria Campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). It holds one of the largest collections in Mexico. It is in a group of landmark buildings that make the Campus a World Heritage site. The outside of the library building is covered with various murals, which were painted by Juan O'Gorman. The library opened its doors for the first time on April 5, 1956, after being moved from its original location in Mexico City center, where it had been for the previous 50 years.

The Murals

The idea for the murals was proposed by O'Gorman to Carlos Lazo (Manager of the Ciudad Universitaria project). Lazo was very excited, especially by the idea of making a mural made just out of thousands of colored tiles, something that never had been done at that scale. The tiles were brought from many different parts of the country because a large number of colors were needed for the construction. North Wall: Pre-Hispanic Past; This mural represents the ancient past of Mexican Culture, having a rough representation of what Mexico City was originally. It contains a River that encompasses what used to be the Center and on the border the symbols for the different surrounding neighborhoods are represented. In the Center a Tenochtitlan representation recreating the Mexico City foundation legend, in which the natives were supposed to found their city in the place where they find an eagle eating a snake and standing in a cactus. South Wall: Colony Past; East Wall: Contemporaneous World; West Wall: The University and Modern Mexico



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