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José Marí­a Magaña Juárez Sign

Sometimes just showing a sign can be considered a political act. Today’s photo about one particular architect’s sign falls under the political …

Antigua Architecture Walks

I was fortunate to accompany Guatemalan Architect José María Magaña Juárez, who specializes in conservation of monuments and historic centers and was …

Guatemalan Water Wells Wet Wealth

First, Blame the trabalenguas, tongue twister, title on emromesco, who said that water will be the oil of the 21st century. Second, …

Spanish-tile Roof Pattern

We, graphic designers, are a weird bunch. We like thinks like patterns, textures, colors, signs, letter shapes, shapes, you name it; if …

Nacimiento Shrine Niche at Capilla de Belén

One important aspect of this particular Nacimiento is the fact that Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt managed to get himself in the picture of the Nativity shrine. For those who are not well verse in Catholic imagery, myself included, normally the Nativity scene shows Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus along with a few animals. No, Santo Hermano Pedro could not be present there since he was born about 1600 years later, give or take a few moons. Rather, the inclusion of his image, on the right, is to celebrate and to remember that is was Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt who introduced the Nacimiento and Posadas to the American Continent, to La Antigua Guatemala if you want to be precise, and from this old town, this celebration was taken to the rest of the continent.

Arch column in Jocotenango

Okay enough is enough. If you browse the Arches category you can find 22 entries and that is not counting all the arches that have appeared through the 535 consecutive days, but I have not tagged or classified as arches. Not once I have talked about the simple column that supports the arch; that is wrong if you consider that it takes two columns to support a single arch.

Family Mausoleum in San Lázaro Cemetery

JM Magaña, La Antigua Guatemala’s second conservator and the pen behind the architecture column in Recrearte Magazine, pointed out that until 1976 La Antigua Guatemala was painted all white too. At the time the cemetery was created in the 1800s, there were a couple waves of plagues and thus every thing was white-washed with live limestone to disinfect and maintain the town virus free. This coincided with the introduction of coffee in 1875 (more or less) and thus an abundance of wealth which provided the necessary fund to build all those mausoleums. There was a massive earthquake that hit Guatemala in 1976 and destroyed a great deal of buildings and houses in Guatemala. In fact, it is said that the 1976 earthquake changed forever the look and feel of Guatemala. La Antigua Guatemala was not saved and thus reconstruction began after the quake and with it, the color lime-stone paint came. This change in color did not reach the cemetery.

Theme Day: Men at Work

Architecture arose from man’s necessity to shelter from the environment. First, he used the caves where he left registered scenes from his daily life, to then build, with the materials found in nature, his home. As humankind organized socially and the jobs became specialties, the first masons appeared and transformed the natural materials such stone and wood, and invented others like adobes and bricks from clay. (fragment from La mano de obra en la arquitectura from JM Magaña in Recrearte Magazine, page 8, available in Spanish as a PDF download)