While Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in nearby Coyoacan may be the more iconic abode of the Mexican surrealist, she also resided and worked at another Casa Azul, her blue-painted house in the compound she shared with her husband Diego Rivera, in twin houses connected by an elevated bridge.
In the airy, architecturally stunning spaces of the museum, many pieces of Rivera and Kahlo’s art are on display, including a collection of Rivera’s papier-mâché cartonería figures of humans, skeletons, and animals, all assembled in the studio where he first constructed them.
The twin houses were designed by the famed painter and architect Juan O’Gorman, a friend of Rivera, and built in the 1930s. They combine a bold functionalist style with more traditional Mexican forms and touches, including murals and rows of cacti. Frida Kahlo lived at the compound until her death in 1954, with Rivera continuing to live there until his death three years later.
In 1995, the National Institute of Fine Arts decided to temporarily close the museum for a long-term restoration to return the structures to the original 1930´s floor plans. This required the aid of several architects, scholars, and restorers. Architect Victor Jimenez, who still is a major expert on Juan O´Gorman, lead the team of the two-year restoration plan. They began by demolishing every addition done after the original scheme, freeing the ground floors from the encased glasses and retrieving the original pilotis, while strengthen them with steel rods and concrete. They also demolished a second floor added to Guillermo Kahlo´s photographic studio when it housed the research center. After two years of intense work, research, authentic reconstruction, and restoration when possible, the museum reopened its doors in 1997 and a year later was designated a National Landmark.
Share this Post