The life cycle for buildings in any city can be short or long. The particular designated usage is either varied or unchanged depending on several unpredictable variables. Sometimes, urban planners raze a building to make room for a new project, while at other times, new ownership buys it and breathes new life into its near flat lining state.
Casa Lamm, an early 20th century mansion in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma, is no stranger to both, since it was close to being just a black and white snapshot of a memory and has also served several functions over its lifetime.
Built in 1911 by prominent architect Lewis Lamm, this grand, European-influenced compound has undergone several changes since its construction. Initially slated to be a private home for the Lamms, it would never serve in such capacity. Instead Mr. Lamm chose to rent the home to the Marianists, a group who occupied the property and set up an all-boys school named Colegio Frances Jalisco. The home remained in possession of the Marianists, and for several years during that time, crept into disrepair and neglect.
Then, in 1939, Mr. Lamm’s widow sold the property to the Garcia Collantes Family who occupied it as their private residence until 1993, at which time it underwent an extensive renovation. That same year, Casa Lamm was finally unveiled as “Centro de Cultura Casa Lamm” and opened to the public.
In its current capacity, Casa Lamm serves as a cultural center providing an array of services and activities centered on the arts. It has abundant gallery space showcasing artwork from around the world in addition to homegrown Mexican artists and thinkers. Additionally, the center contains over 11,000 volumes in its well-maintained and catalogued art library. One can even study art history, creative writing or Mexican art in the many undergrad and post-grad course offerings available. Also included on the grounds of the center, are a restaurant, a bookstore, a cafe and even event space for private functions.
It’s been a long journey for this “never-say-die” mansion in the Roma, but one thing is obvious, it has taken on the role which nowadays seems to provide the “best and highest use” possible in this part of Mexico City! Happy Birthday Casa Lamm!
Getting Here: A brief walk from Insurgentes Metro Station
Location: Av. Alvaro Obregón 99, at Orizaba, Col. Roma, Mexico City
Hours: Tue-Sun, 10-6PM
I am a contributing writer for the Mexico Today Project, which, along with Marca País – Imagen de México “ is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination.”
Disclaimer: **Please note that I am being compensated for participation in this project and for attending its launch in Oaxaca. Also note that all posts and written contributions by me will be expressed in an unbiased form with all opinions reflecting my own.