El Eco: Experimenting with Emotion

In Architecture & Design by Isabella Moreno


The Experimental Museum “El Eco”, has been since its construction a place where the architecture is expressed in its purest  and more human form. It is the reflection of the materiasl, shapes, creativity and human mind into a space. The first experiment was the building construction located in the Sullivan Street #43 in Mexico City, The Eco Museum. The heart of the project since its inception in 1953 was: the emotion, making Emotional Architecture.

The story begins one year prior,  during the meeting at the GAM of the artist Mathias Goeritz and the businessman and patron Daniel Mont. From this meeting, Daniel Mont  commissioned Goeritz to create a space where the commercial interests of the employer with the spirit of the avant-garde artist could dialog, being a space pilot and the first of its kind in the city. With the premise of having a total freedom, Mathias Goeritz created the ” Eco” and he called it :a penetrable sculpture; a platform for the arts without precedent in the context of Mexican and international art of the fifties.

The architectural design was based more in poetry that in the knowledge of vectors and concrete. The disposition of the space, the main corridor, the outdoor patio, the walls, skylights, roofs and enclosures take visitors to explore their emotions. It was a heroic act and space in a stage where the functionalism was the most sacred, it was based on the “Manifesto of the Emotional Architecture” (1954) inspired by the religious experience and the gothic and baroque architecture, written by Mathias Goertiz.

The plastic intervention in the place was happening naturally. The sculpture “the snake” from the yard, should become part of the space, not an object within it. The sculpture was beyond perfect and fit in the courtyard in a way that blended with the total experience. The building  was not orthodox or somehow academic: the same person was an architect, builder and designer. However, the result is a solid space but in constant movement; it is a multidisciplinary place that has no space for the stillness, quite the contrary; eternal creation and sense in intellectual and emotional thoughts are the foundations that have created this space. The space never ceased to be understood for what it was, that it is an experiment and not masquerading as anything else: an experiment within the modern architecture with the goal of creating emotion in man.

Much of the magic of the place lies in the life that it has had since then. Starting as a experimental museum, without collection and with the intention of disseminating the general language of art suddenly became a restaurant, night bar, and theater space of political activity. With each different use  its original structure was modified as is the natural course of any space to live change. In 2004, the UNAM bought the building, valuing the meaning of space and its function. The UNAM work to restore the space in its original form, transforming it again in the work of art that is the Eco. Reopened its doors on September 7 2005, recognizing the work of the talented and magnificent artist Mathias Goeritz and emphasizing the value of this space: a place for speculation and reflection on art and especially a space to experiment, create and feel with emotion. It is currently used for exhibitions,book  presentations, a space to generate dialog between artists and complies with the function of being a core generator and exhibition of art in theMexico City. Without a doubt a space full of history, architectural heart and mysticism.





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