© Jaime Navarro
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Located in the core of San Angel, Mexico City, for centuries San Jacinto Square has been one of the most significant commercial and social spaces in the area. Recently, architect Alejandro de la Vega Zulueta developed and carried out a renovation and renewal project for the public square.
The project was commissioned by the INAH [National Institute of Anthropology and History], Mexico’s top authority in the inspection and preservation of cultural heritage. INAH documents and plans imply that the original design of the square dates back to the 16th century, in what was formerly known as Tenanitla (meaning ‘next to the stone wall’ in Nahuatl).
Architecturally, its elements have been replaced over time with 20th-century components, comprising different types of concrete, as well as flagstones and fountains that have been transferred into the square from other public spaces in the city. Consequently, the only remaining original element of the plaza is its layout.
Embracing the space’s past, as well as its present role as an artistic, commercial, and social gathering point in San Angel, the interesting pastiche allowed the architect to produce a totally new code that can be implemented to other public spaces in Mexico City as well. The resulting new look for Plaza San Jacinto is governed by the concepts of aesthetic and design unification, artistic process, and defining the purpose of public spaces.