Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes)

Completed Project
World Monuments Watch
Mexico City, Mexico

The Palace of Fine Arts is Mexico City’s grandest and most important performance space. It is one of the many public buildings begun during the government of Porfirio Díaz, who was in office from 1876 to 1911. The building features murals that were executed by some of Mexico’s finest artists, including Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Roberto Montenegro, and houses exhibition halls for sculpture and painting. It is also home to the National Museum of Architecture, and the National Theater.

This stunning Art Nouveau masterpiece was envisioned for the centenary celebrations of Mexico’s independence in 1910, and was completed in 1934. Occupied by the National Institute of Fine Arts since 1947, the Palace of Fine Arts, with its interior surfaces of Carrara marble, has been an artistic center and a venue for notable events in opera, dance, music, art, and literature. The iron and Marotti crystal roof create gallery spaces naturally illuminated by skylights. The use of materials was both innovative and experimental.

Restoration of the main dome was completed with our assistance

The Palace of Fine Arts was included on the World Monuments Watch in 1998. Decades of deferred maintenance and failure at the junction points between systems such as the glass block, concrete, tile dome, and copper flashing along the ribs of the dome, resulted in severe deterioration. These same structural problems led to water penetrating the building through the skylights, seriously endangering the palace’s spectacular murals.

In 2002, thanks to support from American Express, we completed the restoration of one of the side cupolas flanking the main dome of the Palace. Restoration of the main dome was completed in 2004 with our assistance, thanks to support from the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage and Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. Much of the original material that could be saved was maintained, and the ceramic tiles that had decomposed were replaced by new ones that matched the originals in material and finish.

Last updated: August 2021.

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