Architecture in Mexico City:

12 can’t-miss structures


Pre-Aztec monuments, modern buildings from the 1950s, contemporary museums and churches. Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao tells us where to see the past and present of one of the largest megalopolises in the world


Our guide: Tatiana Bilbao

The Mexican artist has several projects included in the architecture archives of Paris’s Centre Pompidou and won the 2014 Global Award for Sustainable Architecture. Her office, which carries her name, is located on Paseo de la Reforma, one of the main thoroughfares in Mexico City.


Museo Nacional de Antropología

Designed by architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez in 1964, the museum houses the most important collection of archaeological and ethnographic artifacts in the country. It is divided into different halls connected by a central patio containing a water fountain made of concrete.

Avenida Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi

Hotel Camino Real Polanco

The 1968 hotel was designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, who took inspiration from the culture of the countryside and mixed typical spaces, such as colonial patios, with modern art pieces.

Calz. Gral. Mariano Escobedo, 700

Conjunto Urbano Nonoalco Tlatelolco

Designed by Mario Pani, it was a milestone for housing projects in Mexico City. Inspired by the modern architecture ideals of the 1960s, it contains nearly 11,000 apartments distributed across buildings constructed around Plaza de las Tres Culturas.

Plaza de las Tres Culturas

Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo

In 1932, Diego Rivera commissioned two buildings from Juan O’Gorman – a studio house for himself and another for his partner, artist Frida Kahlo. Connected by stairs and a bridge, the two houses serve as museums.

Calle Diego Rivera, s/n0

Ciudad Universitaria, UNAM

In 1950, Mario Pani brought together Mexico’s most prominent architects to create Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. The mural at Biblioteca Central was designed by Juan O’Gorman and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Avenida Universidad, 3.000

Teotihuacán pyramids

“In the ruins of a pre-Aztec city, created around 100 BC, you can clearly observe the urban design, the scale of the pyramids, and the relationships established with the surroundings,” states Bilbao.

San Juan Teotihuacán

Museo Jumex

Built in 2013, this museum is one of the most important works of contemporary architecture in the city. “Designed by David Chipperfield, it shows how a foreign architect can use local cultural elements and materials to create a magnificent space,” explains Bilbao.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, 303

Museo Tamayo

Founded in 1981 by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, this museum is home to a collection of modern and contemporary pieces that he created. It also hosts temporary exhibits. “It’s the best work by architects Teodoro González de León and Abraham Zabludovsky,” she affirms.

Paseo de la Reforma, 51

Museo Anahuacalli

Created by Diego Rivera, the project was executed by architects Juan O’Gorman and Ruth Rivera, Rivera’s friend and daughter, in 1964. Designed to house the incredible collection of pre-Hispanic pieces created by the artist, the building was inspired by Mayan architecture.

Museo 150, Coyoacán

Condominio Paseo de la Reforma y Río Guadalquivir

The two “vivienda” (housing) buildings were designed by Mario Pani in 1956. “Río Guadalquivir is leaning due to an earthquake, just like many other structures in DF. This is part of our history,” says Bilbao.

Avenida Paseo de la Reforma y calle Río Guadalquivír

Palacio de Bellas Artes

“What’s interesting about this structure is that you can perceive the different stages of its construction, which started in Art Nouveau style and was completed in 1934 by Mexican architect Federico Mariscal,” explains Bilbao.

Avenida Juárez, Centro Histórico

Catedral Metropolitana - Zócalo

It was built over the ruins of an Aztec temple adjacent to Templo Mayor, at Zócalo, between 1573 and 1813. Architect Claudio de Arciniega was responsible for the first stages of the construction work, drawing inspiration from Gothic cathedrals in Spain.

Plaza de la Constitución s/nº