Today, the World Capital of Architecture starts the special series MY CITY, in which we count on the partnership of the International Union of Architects – UIA, which interviewed prominent architects about their relationship with cities that marked their lives and that hosted the World Congress of Architects previously.
Sara Topelson – Architect
Sara was the first female president of the International Union of Architects UIA. Born in Poland, she has lived in México city since she was eleven months old. She is passionate about cities and architecture in all fields; professional, academic, public, political and social. Sara grew up in one of the great neighbourhoods in the city, Hipodromo – Condesa. “Our house was located in a beautiful elliptical Amsterdam street that followed the line of a former racetrack, with a walkable median where all the children and young people of all ages met, played and hung out; a real mixed-use area with the park at the core”.
Our neighbourhood built in me the love for urban life that led me to study architecture and urban planning. I’ve been active in this field for more than 40 years, not only as an architect but extending my participation in every area that involves the building of private and public spaces and enhancing the environment.
ZOCALO – The heart of México city; Point zero where everything begins .The most representative and vibrant plaza for culture, political, religious, and social gatherings. This magnificent open space is defined by the Cathedral and Sanctuary, the Presidential Palace, the offices of México City government, shops and hotels, all creating an amazing and unique environment.
THE PALACE OF FINE ARTS – The most emblematic cultural building in México City; A white carrara building with a glittering dome, classical with Art Nouveau touches. It has been recognized as the Cathedral of Art in México and has hosted notable performers in music, dance, theatre, opera and literature. The interiors are a fine example of Mexican art deco, holding a remarkable collection of murals. The museum has hosted some of the best exhibitions worldwide.
PASEO DE LA REFORMA – The Mexican version of the Champs Elysées in Paris or Avenue Louise in Brussels, linking the Castle of Chapultepec with the city centre. This historical avenue depicts the economic development of México. Monuments remembering Mexico s history are situated on the major roundabouts: Columbus, Cuauhtémoc, “The Angel Independence” monument. Today this avenue hosts the tallest buildings in México city, including offices, hotels, banks and embassies, enhancing the great promenade.
CENTRAL UNIVERSITY CAMPUS – UNIVERSIDAD AUTONOMA DE MÉXICO UNAM – Built between 1949 – 1952, the ensemble of buildings, open spaces and sport facilities constitute a unique example of 20th century Modern Architecture, integrating urbanism, engineering and landscape design. A remarkable example of Plastic Integration through murals by the greatest Mexican painters, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Juan O Gorman etc. My Alma Mater! Declared UNESCO World Heritage in 2007.
CHAPULTEPEC CASTLE – Located on top of Chapultepec park hill, this spot has magnificent views and terraces. It was the Imperial Presidential Residence, Military Academy, observatory and since 1940 the National Museum of History. Alexander Von Humblodt in 1803 named México City “The City of Palaces”. Among them was this beautiful Castle visible throughout the whole city. I have always enjoyed a walk up to visit the museum to enjoy the beauty of México City.