Fundidora Park is an industrial heritage museum and public park in the heart of Monterrey. Originally developed as the site of the Compañia Fundidora de Fierro y Acero de Monterrey, a steel foundry dating to 1900, it was known as “La Maestranza” as it was the training site for many of the first generations of ironworkers and technicians in Monterrey. The once-important industrial center now serves a recreational and educational purpose for the city and its visitors. The park contains several structures from the old foundry, including the 1968 blast furnace known as Horno Alto No. 3, one of the most important pieces of equipment in the foundry’s history. Designed by Arthur G. McKee & Co., an American engineering company based in Cleveland, Ohio, Horno Alto No. 3 was a technological breakthrough. It was the first automated blast furnace in Mexico and had an unparalleled capacity for production. The foundry closed in 1986 and in 1988 its transformation to a new use commenced. Fundidora Park was declared an Industrial Archaeological Museum Site by the state government in 2001. The structure housing Horno Alto No. 3 became a science and technology center managed by a nonprofit organization known as horno3. It is an educational facility that showcases the origin of the industrialization and modernization of Mexico and the important role of the foundry in this venture.
Securing adaptive reuse for the future
Abandoned and exposed to the elements for 20 years, Horno Alto No. 3 shows many signs of corrosion in its steel elements which require attention in order to protect this important remnant of the first and largest steel producing company in Latin America. Fundidora Park was included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch, and Watch Day was celebrated on site in August 2014 with 3,000 participants gathering at Horno3 to attend drawing sessions, guided tours, a concert, a screening of a documentary about the museum, and more. Fundidora Park also received an award from American Express to support conservation work on the blast furnace, specifically the steel plate of the stack and adjacent stairs, pipes, and valves. In addition, the award supported an awareness-raising campaign designed to maintain the park's central place in the community of Monterrey. Work on these projects began in December 2014 and was completed in September 2015. Increasing awareness and visitor numbers will assist in raising revenues for preservation activities. In this way, a crucial element of the region’s history will be enjoyed by local community members for years to come.