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Travel Stories: Mexico City Day 2.1 Rivera/Kahlo

Posted by on 9/20/12 at 11:28am

A group of 6 LF’ers recently ventured down to Mexico City to enjoy the food, culture and the architecture. These are our stories in a four-part mini series.

If you’ve been searching for a building with a clear – and poignant – diagram then look no further than Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo’s house. Designed by Juan O’Gorman and completed in 1931, the house makes a bold statement in a verdant and affluent district of Mexico City.

Diego commissioned his friend Juan to design a house specifically for his needs and the needs of Frida, his wife. The story of their marriage reads like a tragedy and the house seems to reflect the pain and suffering that she endured throughout her life. Diego was never a faithful husband and of course, many of Frida’s most famous paintings depict the emotional strain of their relationship. With this in mind, their house appears like an illustration of their fragile union. Diego, who never felt restrained by his marriage, lived in the larger, red unit which includes a generous, two story studio space and an exuberant exterior spiral staircase. Frida however, resided in the blue unit which has uncomfortably small rooms and low ceilings. The rooftop bridge that links the two units is an irrational design move which appears to reflect the constant state of tension between Diego and Frida.

Despite this history, there is no doubt that the house is starkly beautiful. Once you have crossed the threshold of the cactus fence, you are greeted by a concrete spiral staircase which encourages you to enter Mr Rivera’s enormous studio, gifted on the northern side by a large steel framed window that looks out to the foliage of a giant oak tree and, in the distance, the mountains perched atop the concrete sprawl that defines D.F.

Next: Mexico City Day 2.2 Barragan