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01.27.2010

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Bella Epoca Culture Centre
Attractions of Mexico City

Address: Tamaulipas 202 on the corner with Benjamin Hill
Telephone Numbers:
5276 7110 / 5276 7139
Area:
Condesa Neighbourhood
Metro: Patriotismo
Opening Hours: Monday through Sunday from 10:00 to 20:00 hrs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bella Época Cultural Centre is located in the building previously occupied by the Lido Cinema, which was designed by Charles Lee in 1942.

The Lido Cinema, in sync with the architectural tendencies of the era, where the Californian colonial style and spanish revival were the predominant choice among the wealthy, was designed by reclaiming hispanic elements and Mudéjar influences; its most important compositive element being a 20 m tall tower, similar to a minaret, which presided over the entrance to the cinema and its great marquee.  

After decades of splendour and of being a reference point for the inhabitants of the area, the Lido Cinema, later known as Bella Época, started to decay, among other reasons, because big comercial chains were establishing new cinemas all over the city that had better and more attractive facilites, causing the seats in this entertainment centre to gradually empty out.  

After a short period of neglect, the city purchased the building and then sold it to the 'Fondo de Cultura Económica', the largest and most important publishing house in Latin America, which is financed by the mexican government. At the request of several members of the neighbouring community who asked for the building to be protected and reused rather than rebuilt, Fondo de Cultura Económica entrusted architect Teodoro González de León (who also lives in the area) with the remodeling project for the old Lido Cinema, which has since been known as Bella Época Cultural Centre.

González de León's architectural project consisted in conserving the elements of the façade and minaret which were most characteristic to the building, making way for a large interior space which is subtly illuminated with skylights, and adapting some of the original spaces to the ones recquired by the new venue, which is made up of three segments: the Rosario Castellanos Library (one of the largest in Latin America), a space for temporary exhibitions and the New Lido Cinema, a proyection centre for the diffusion of independent films.

Since its inauguration in april 2006, the Bella Época Cultural Centre has positioned itself as one of the most visited places in the Condesa area, thanks to the diverse activities that take place there and their integration. The Rosario Castellanos Library has become a sort of urban sitting room in which any visitor can leaf through books, sit down and read in one of the comfortable chairs or meet up with friends in the coffee shop. An interesting feature of this library is the luminous suspended ceiling, designed in glass by Dutch artist Jan Hendrix (who lives in mexico) and which, through expresive abstract shapes in black and white, creates the sensation of being under the canopy of an exhuberant abstract jungle.

The cultural centre has parking space for cars and bycicles.

MexicoCity-Guide.com  Mexico, D.F. 2008. All rights reserved.