19th-century eclectic architecture is just the beginning of it. The Casa Rivas Mercado is a striking mansion, a ruin for some 20 years, and a treasure to all the surrounding streets.
Designed and built by the architect, Antonio Rivas Mercado, it was the sensation of the Colonia Guerrero. Rivas Mercado is best remembered for having designed to the Monument to Mexican Independence (i.e.; el Ángel).
Construction on the began in 1893 and lasted four years and Mr. and Mrs. Rivas Mercado moved inside in 1898. The house was homebase for a whole group of intellectuals, architects, painters, sculptors, Mexican and foreign writers invited to meals at the house.
When the architect died, in 1927, his daughter Alicia inherited the house and lived there until 1936. She then donated it to the Church and it later became a school. For some 60 years it was owned and inhabited by another family and then abandoned for 20 years.
Today, as a cultural center and architectural museum, it’s simply an astounding house to visit.
Mercado Rivas carefully chose imported and domestic materials to build the entire house. With classic elements like Doric columns in the front gallery and Renaissance balustrades on the terraces and the pediment above the main entrance.
There are elements of pre-Hispanic inspiration in the pilasters of the terrace, Moorish decoration in tiles, ceramics in friezes of the facades, Victorian components in doors and windows, and decorative pieces characteristic of art nouveau. They stand out the splendid encaustic mosaics of English manufacture, that add approximately 50 thousand pieces, with 90 different designs.
In 2017, the house, restored thanks to the Fundación Conmemoraciones 2010, A.C., opens its doors to become a cultural center.