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01.27.2010

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Legislative Assembly
Historical Centre / Images of the Historical Centre / Attractions of Mexico City

Area: Historical Centre
Address:
Donceles on the corner with Allende
Metro: Allende. Bellas Artes.

With its main façade in pan-coupé (facing a corner), this building – originally a theatre, then used as Chamber of Deputies and now seat of the Legislative Assembly – has been one of the most traditional stages for mexican politics in the 20th Century and, in recent decades, a centre for the democratic emancipation of Mexico City.

The history of this building dates back to 1851 when Francisco Abreu, an entrepreneur, decided to build the Iturbide Theatre, making it the first integrally designed entertainment complex in the country. Due to the political turbulence of the time, the complex didn't last long and was quickly abandoned. Twenty years later, when a fire devastated the Chamber of Deputies in the National Palace, it was temporarily transfered to the theatre's facilities. Due to the fact that the theatre's design didn't completely satisfy the needs of the House of Representatives, a plan was made for the construction of a Legislative Palace which would be inaugurated on the 100th anniversary of Mexico's Independence where the Monument to the Revolution stands today. After several delays and, consequentially, it's cancellation, it was decided that the Iturbide Theatre would be remodeled; the project was entrusted to architect Mauricio de María Campos who redesigned the main faҫade by eliminating the original portico and adding a classical pediment supported on Ionic columns which flanked the entrance consisting of three round arch doors which descended onto an ample stairway.

The Chamber of Deputies' sessions continued to take place in the building all throughout the 20th Century until it was transferred in 1981 to the new Congress building, located to the west of the Historical Centre. The change coincided with a period in which the city's inhabitants started getting more involved in the country's public and political life, due to the deterioration of the PRI's (Institutional Revolutionary Party) dictatorship as well as the 1985 earthquake, both of which motivated the mexican people to work towards the city's – and its institutions' – reconstruction in the face of the federal government's inefficiency in handling the catastrophe. These events made it apparent to the people that they had the right to choose their own governors and representatives, which up to that point had always been imposed directly by the Executive power.

In the mid-80's a House of Representatives in its first stages was put in place, and in the need for a space in which to carry out its activities, it was decided the facilites of the old Chamber of Deputies would suffice. In 1997 the Assembly acquired the ability to Legislate at the same time the city's first ever election for governor took place, which Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano won.

Some of the most advanced laws in terms of human rights have been passed in this building, like the right for child abortion during the first months of the pregnancy, the law for cohabitation societies; which legally recognizes homes formed by people who aren't related without changing the participants' civil status and, most recently, the law for same-sex marriage approved on december 21st 2009 which made Mexico City the first in Latin America to accept said unions as well as one of the most tolerant and liberal cities in the world.

The building is located in the Historical Centre, on the corner of Donceles and Allende.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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