RESTORATION OF THE BUILDING
Together with a group of experts and the National Institute of History and Anthropology, Architect Francisco Pérez de Salazar PhD., was tasked to intervene and architecturally endow the former hospitality with the adequate installations to perform as a museum and cultural center.
Once the decision was made to recover its ancient splendour and adjusting it for its new use as museum and cultural center, the restoration work advanced side by side with those of archaeological exploration, discovering historical architecture of importance such as the foundations of the structure made up of cedar stakes laid out in parallel angles similar to equilateral triangles, as with multiple layers of earth in both floors and walls that give ample evidence the lengths the Prehispanics and Spaniards did to gain hold of the lake. In a similar way, up to three hundred minor pieces were found such as coins, animal bones and semi-destroyed ceramic pieces, amongst others. One of the main challenges was how to recover the original elements in the property still within and that were gradually modified throughout centuries for the different uses it had. The final adjustments were carried out to transform the premises into the Cortés Hotel, widely known by both foreigners and nationals since mid 20th century.
In order to restore its exterior, the project had the final goal of recovering the original splendour of the main facade of the ancient building, as with dignifying the appearance of the wall, as it had been left “naked” from a long time due to the mutilations it suffered as a hotel, first due to the expansion works of Paseo de la Reforma towards Tlatelolco, then by cutting the corner of Hidalgo Avenue to build a Subway Station. The grounds of the highest floor of the hotel were converted into the museum rooms and adapted to host expositions on different subjects. The project was finished with the creation of new spaces such as a shop, restaurant, café and an auditorium, amongst others, with the intention of giving a complete experience to all who visit the museum.