Matamoros’ Architectural MCM Jewel

Year Built – 1969
Architects – Mario Pani
Text and Photos – Stephen Fox
The Centro Artesanal in Matamoros, built in 1969 in the second phase of PRONAF development, after Mario Pani ceased to be affiliated with PRONAF, was as dramatic in its use of folded (almost draped) concrete plates as Pani’s buildings had been in their use of steel.

Although aspects of the Centro Artesanal’s architecture reverberate with Mathias Goeritz’s experimental space, El Eco, in Mexico City of 1953, it was nevertheless understood as a modern evocation of Mexican vernacular building practices, expressing Mexican cultural identity through the tectonic medium of modern concrete construction. Pani’s architecture, like that of York and Taniguchi, treated regionalism functionally and performatively. After the middle 1960s, modern architects sought to externalize regionalism as an explicit architectural theme.

This building is currently the home of the Contemporary Art Museum of Matamoros, Mexico.