The Guide to Architecture of the University City of 1952, published by the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, deals with one of the most notorious urban complexes of the 20th century in Mexico. Located to the south of Mexico City, on a bed of volcanic lava, its construction represented not only an architectural landmark but a true transformation of the educational community, influencing decisively the new generations of students and the country’s destiny.
The University City was adjusted to master plan, by Mario Pani and Enrique del Moral, where the use of the “superblock” stands out and the straight line disappears to privilege an organic sense in streets and avenues; likewise, the influence of pre-Hispanic guidelines in open spaces is apparent, such as terraces, slopes and stairways, with a large central area, around which schools and faculties are located. Pani and Del Moral also coordinated the teams responsible for the architectural projects of the schools and sports facilities, that were designed by fifty architects, from the UNAM School of Architecture, integrating art works of renowned artists. The university ensemble was dedicated by President Miguel Alemán on November 20, 1952, at the same time that it was the venue of the VIII Pan-American Congress of Architects, with Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Richard Neutra as guests of honor.
This architectural guide was edited to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Declaration. The publication, with an excellent design by Luis Almeida, displays aerial photographs of the construction stage and color images, which show the current situation of the well conserved buildings; it contains documentation on each of the buildings, with the name of the architects, builders and collaborators. Its small format facilitates its use during an on-site visit, in addition to serving as a source of consultation on these pioneering buildings. It was coordinated by Louise Noelle, with collaborations by Manuel Berumen, Lourdes Cruz, Juan Ignacio del Cueto, María de Lourdes Díaz, Elisa Drago, Alejandrina Escudero, Yani Herreman, Alejandro Ochoa, Iván San Martín, Lucía Santa Ana and Sara Topelson, all members of Docomomo-Mexico, as part of the collective works to disseminate the Mexican architectural heritage, providing tools for its conservation.