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Arena México

Dr. Lavista No. 197 Doctores Doctores

The Arena México is a amphitheater in the center of Mexico City, a symbol of the city. It is one of the great buildings that have characterized the playful Mexican architecture and is the ancient amphitheater with the best level of preservation, thanks to systematic restorations made from the '600. In summer it hosts the opera festival and many international singers and musicians.


The principle element of the arena is taken from the amphitheater which was almost certainly drawn from the ground at the beginning of the work: the external perimeter of the amphitheater was then obtained from drawing a concentric line to the arena. 


The amphitheater was built on a slight artificial prominence (and today is under the normal street level), and its foundations were made of an audience with cement. Between the outer ring and the base of the podium there is a 1,60 m difference in altitude. Water drainage, very important for a work of this size, was assured by three annular sewers placed under the floor of many concentric galleries, which were nothing more than the backbone of the first floor. Two more sewers were placed along the major and minor axes of the structure, and carried the waste water up to the Galtiago. This system of sewers was very efficient, also because of the large size: the height is constantly maintained on the two meters. They were built with stretches of cobblestone masonry bound with mortar, and alternating with horizontal three bricks files, while large stone serve as roofing sheets. A similar technique was used for commissioning city's sewer system operates.


The appearance of the building is now quite different from the original one, in particular because of the lack of the outer ring, which would be the true monumental façade, a task now performed by the internal front. The only section of the outer wall still standing is the so-called Wing, consisting of four arches. This ring had an important function, but served as a monumental façade work: its arches reflected exactly the empty spaces below the auditorium, while the huge pillars and summed ultimavano the lines of force coming from inside. The superposition of three rows of arches made explicit outside the existence of the two tunnels and the upper porch, while the lintels topped the times of internal galleries. In this way the complex internal volumes are outside an aesthetic and spatial.


The connections between front and rear construction are given only by the common foundations and the vaults of the third tunnel and the one above it. The façade is composed of three superimposed orders of arches, made entirely with squared blocks of a very common stone in this area, the ammonite red limestone. 


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