Last Minute Chance - Join City Icons: Amsterdam

Festive City Icons Kick Off with Talk by Linda Vlassenrood

Healing Through Architecture

MORE MIES - Pure Architecture in Haus Lange Haus Esters

An Elementalist and Mediterranean Architecture

Through a Bauhaus Lens: Edith Tudor-Hart and Isokon

Modernism Week Lecture: 10 Years of Iconic Houses

Aluminaire House Grand Opening

Exhibition Icons of the Czech Avant-Garde

Icon for Sale - Loos Villa: Haus Horner

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams Europe - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams North America - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL – German Greats!

SPECIAL - Vacances en France!

SPECIAL - Casas Icónicas en España!

SPECIAL – Dutch Delights!

SPECIAL – Iconic Artist Residencies

SPECIAL – Northern (High)Lights!

SPECIAL – Iconic Housing

SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses

Winy Wants a World Wonder

Welcome Atelier Volten!

Public Screenings and Private Streaming of Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Sleep in a Modernist Gem – Huis Billiet in Bruges

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - 100 Years Van Zessen House

Exclusive Tour and Film Screening Package

The Last House Designed by Adolf Loos Will Be Built in Prague

Icons of the Czech Avantgarde

Icon for Sale - Casa Legorreta

Rietveld Day: 200 Enthusiasts Explored 3 Utrecht Icons

Hurray! 10 Years Iconic Houses

7th International Iconic Houses Conference A Huge Success

Meet Conference Co-Chair Iveta Černá

Meet Conference Co-Chair Maria Szadkowska

Eighteen Iconic Houses Under One Roof

17 June - 'Pioneers-film' Screening Amersfoort

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Eesteren House Museum

Welcome Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky Zentrum in Vienna!

Welcome Vila Volman! Jewel of Czech Functionalism

Movie Night: Adolf Loos- Revolutionary Among Architects

'Inside Iconic Houses' Case Study House #26 Webcast in Webshop

Inside Iconic Houses at Taut’s Home in Berlin

Rediscovering Forgotten Loos Interiors in Pilsen

'Inside Iconic Houses' - Online Tour Program

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - The Diagoon House

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Rietveld Schröder House

Rietveld Houses Owners Association

Corberó Space: New Life for Hidden Jewel

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Pierre Cuypers' House and Workshops

Reeuwijk Celebrates Completion of Restoration Rietveld Homes!

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Doesburg Rinsema House

Welcome Rietveld's Van Daalen House!

Architect Harry Gessner Passed Away at 97

Watch Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House Now On Demand

Icon Saved: Dorchester Drive House

Welcome Umbrella House!

Iconic Houses in the Netherlands – Berlage’s Masterpiece

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Het Schip

Inside Iconic Houses - Tour of Maison Cazenave

Inside Iconic Houses Tours Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami

Casa Masó Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Inside Iconic Houses tours Roland Reisley's Usonian Frank Lloyd Wright House

Rietveld’s Experimental Housing in Reeuwijk Saved

Serralves Villa after restoration

Portraits of the Architect - Interview with Gennaro Postiglione

Test Labs for New Ideas - Interview with Natascha Drabbe

Inside Iconic Houses - Isokon Building

Inside Iconic Houses - 16 December: Sunnylands with Janice Lyle

BCN-BXL Coderch-De Koninck - Beyond Time

New Chairman Architect Nanne de Ru on The Perfect Platform

Health and Home - Interview with Beatriz Colomina

A Life Less Ordinary – Interview with Valentijn Carbo

Invisible Women - Interview with Alice T. Friedman

Winy Maas on the Green Dip

Anita Blom on Experimental Housing of the 1970s

Women’s Worlds - Interview with Natalie Dubois

The Culture of Living - Interview with Robert von der Nahmer

Hetty Berens: A Fresh Take on Modernism

Niek Smit on Supporting Modern Heritage

Alice Roegholt on Amsterdam’s Working-Class Palaces

July is Iconic Houses Month

Hans van Heeswijk on The Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Wessel de Jonge on Dutch Icons at Risk

Save Maison Zilveli - Sign the Petition!

How a Building Tells a Story - Recorded Event

Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House

13 Aalto Sites Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage

Villa Beer At Risk - Sign the Petition!

Business Cards of Stone, Timber and Concrete in the Brussels Region 1830-1970

Exhibiting & Visiting Modernist Monuments

Fostering Well-Researched Responsible Design


Enjoy a virtual visit to the California House and a Q&A with architect Peter Gluck

Exhibition 'Modernism and Refuge'

A Hidden Gem of Postmodernism

New Centre for Historic Houses of India

An Online Chronicle of the Douglas House

Villa Henny, geometric style icon in The Netherlands

A Mendini temple in Amsterdam

IH-lectures USA & Canada Feb 2020 on Melnikov House

Sponsors and Friends

An Afternoon with the Glucks

Chandler McCoy on Making Modern Houses Sustainable

Catherine Croft: Getting Away from the Demolition Mentality in the UK

Patrick Weber on Discovering an Unknown Icon

Fiona Fisher on Iconic Interiors

Jocelyn Bouraly on Villa Cavrois

Mireia Massagué on finding success through a new kind of partnership

Danish Moderns – Looking Back at Our Mini-Seminar

Venturo house complements Exhibition Centre WeeGee’s offering

Lecture report: Remembering Richard Neutra

Hôtel Mezzara and the Guimard Museum project

We welcome 13 new members!

BREAKING NEWS: 8 Wright Sites Inscribed on Unesco World Heritage List!

LECTURE 29 August - Raymond Neutra: My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright

Iconic Reads

Our Badge of Honour

Iconic Houses End Year Message

City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?

Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress

Planned Demolition of Rietveld Homes in Reeuwijk

Renovation Gili House in Crisis

An Iconic Saga

Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies

Modernism on the East Coast

Iconic Houses in Latin America

Conference testimonials

House Tours May 2018 

Expert Meetings

Natascha Drabbe - Iconic Houses: The Next Chapter

Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson

New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne

Hilary Lewis on Philip Johnson and his Glass House

John Arbuckle on Great House Tours

William D. Earls on the Harvard Five in New Canaan

Stover Jenkins on Working for Philip Johnson

Frederick Noyes on his Father’s House

Scott Fellows and Craig Bassam on their Passion for Preservation

Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)

Fabio Grementieri on Modernism in Argentina

Catalina Corcuera Cabezut on Casa Luis Barragán

Renato Anelli on Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro

Tim McClimon on Corporate Preservation

Amanda Nelson on Building Donor Relationships

John Bacon on Planned Giving

Jean-Paul Warmoes on the Art of Fundraising in America

Chandler McCoy on Why Less is More

Katherine Malone-France on Moving with the Times

Anne Mette Rahbæk on Philanthropic Investments and Preservation

Peter McMahon on Saving Modern Houses on Cape Cod

Toshiko Kinoshita on Japanese Modern Heritage Houses

Roland Reisley on Life in a Frank Lloyd Wright House

5th Iconic Houses Conference May 2018

Kristin Stone, Pasadena Tour Company

Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio

Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association

Crosby Doe, Architecture for Sale

Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico

De Stijl in Drachten

Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio

Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru

Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil

Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition

Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece

In Berlin’s Modernist Network

Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary

Meet Our New Foundation Board Members

Maintaining Aalto's Studio – Linoleum Conservation

Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D

Getty Grant for Villa E-1027

Plečnik House in Ljubljana

Iconic Dacha

Iconic Houses: A Bohemian Road Trip

Work in Progress: Capricho de Gaudí

11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List

At home with Le Corbusier

Henry van de Velde’s Study in Haus Hohe Pappeln Restored

Lynda Waggoner reports

A Conference to Remember

4th International Iconic Houses Conference

Guest of Honor - Harry Gesner

Fallingwater: European Lecture Tour

Wright Plus 2016 Walk

Susan Macdonald, Getty Conservation Institute

John Mcllwee, Garcia House

Meet the Friends – Elisabeth Tostrup

Iconic Houses: The Story So Far

Willie van Burgsteden, designer Iconic Houses

Buff Kavelman, Philanthropic Advisor

Meet the Friends - Frederick Noyes

Sheridan Burke, GML Heritage

Meet the Friends - Raymond Neutra

Sidney Williams, Frey House

Franklin Vagnone and Deborah Ryan, Museum Anarchists

Meet the Friends - James Haefner

Toshiko Mori, architect

Malachi Connolly, Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Meet the Friends - Penny Sparke

Lucia Dewey Atwood, Eames House

Cory Buckner, Mutual Housing Site Office

Jeffrey Herr, Hollyhock House

Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library

Sarah Lorenzen, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences

Ted Bosley, Gamble House

Keeping It Modern - Getty Conservation Grants

Meet the Friends - Thomas Schönauer

Wim de Wit, Stanford University

Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy

Jesse Lattig, Pasadena Heritage

Join us in Los Angeles! Update

Work in Progress: Casa Vicens

Work in Progress: Van Wassenhove House

Work in Progress: Villa Cavrois

Work in Progress: The Pearlroth House

Conference calls!

Follow us!

Third Iconic Houses Conference a huge success

Conference House Tours Barcelona

Marta Lacambra, Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera

Natascha Drabbe, Iconic Houses Foundation

Special speaker Oscar Tusquets

Jordi Tresserras, UNESCO Network ‘Culture, tourism and development’

Christen Obel, Utzon Foundation

Elena Ruiz Sastre, Casa Broner

Fernando Alvarez Prozorovich, La Ricarda

Tim Benton, Professor of Art History (Emeritus)

Susana Landrove, Docomomo Spain

Rossend Casanova, Casa Bloc

Conference Program 25 November 2014

Jordi Falgàs, Casa Rafael Masó

Documentary La Ricarda

Marga Viza, Casa Míla/La Pedrera

Celeste Adams, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Conference 25 November 2014 at La Pedrera

Henry Urbach, The Glass House

Victoria & Albert Museum London November 12

Tommi Lindh, new director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and Museum

Iveta Černá, Villa Tugendhat

Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater

Kimberli Meyer, MAK Center

Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld

Barragán House on Screen

Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move

Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013

Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open

September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris

June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments

Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook

Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture

Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse

New arrivals: Spain special

MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June

Taut's Home wins Europa Nostra Award

Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen

Message from the Editor

Neutra’s House on Screen

Michel Richard, Fondation Le Corbusier

Symposium The Public and the Modern House

Melnikov House on Screen

Iconic Houses in the media

Message from the Editor

Round Table Review

Eileen Gray House on Screen

Copy Culture

At Home in the 20th Century

New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches

Philippe Bélaval, Centre des monuments nationaux

17 January 2018

Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio

Alan Rojas Orzechowski, deputy director Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, Mexico City

The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio Museum is located in southern Mexico City, in the San Angel district, a historical section renowned for its colonial architecture and cobblestoned streets. The area has a long-standing bourgeois tradition for summer villas in Beaux Arts, neocolonial and picturesque styles, so it may come as a shock for some to discover a hidden gem: the first functionalist house to ever been built in Mexico, by architect Juan O´Gorman (1905-1982).

By the beginning of the twentieth century, in 1906, the lands comprising the hacienda Goicoechea -currently a popular restaurant- were sold and fractioned by the San Angel Land Co., which began the creation of the Altavista residential neighborhood. The homestead was then turned into a hotel, the San Angel Inn. Due to its popularity in the 1920´s, the area was best known as San Angel Inn.

In 1929, young architect Juan O´Gorman purchased two lots that functioned as the hotel´s tennis courts, where he explored the possibility of a new architecture by building a model house in the lower plot. Although he sustained it was created for his father, painter Cecil Crawford O´Gorman, it’s more likely he constructed the site as a showcase for his new architectural proposals.

Self portrait (Autorretrato múltiple), oil on canvas, Museo de Arte Moderno, INBA, Juan O‘Gorman, 1950.

He was well acquainted with the architectural innovations of European avant-garde architects, particularly, functionalist architect Le Corbusier. O´Gorman followed this paradigm with the usage of pilotis, steel and glass, being the study on the upstairs floor a remarkable example; a concrete helicoidal staircase which required a mastered use of geometry and technique, as well as piping and electrical exposed installations as part of an expressive architectural language. The innovation was present by retrieving Mexican folk-art elements as the exposed clay paneled ceilings, saturated colours in exterior walls and a cacti fence, enhancing the nationalist cosmopolitanism which ruled the post-revolutionary epoch.

The 1929 Cecil Crawford O´Gorman, fundamental part of the museum.

The construction was completed in 1931, when he showed the finalized dwelling to lifelong friends Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Rivera a communist as well, respected Juan O´Gorman’s views on working-class housing and the concept of socialized architecture, consequently the edifice aesthetics fascinated him. We are currently aware the he intended to use this construction as a prototype for low-income families, although the project never occurred.

Preliminary Project for Working Class Housing in Mexico City (Anteproyecto de habitaciones obreras en el D.F.), Juan O´Gorman, 1929.

Consequently, the muralist Rivera commissioned O´Gorman to build his residence in the upper plot, at the intersection of Altavista Avenue and Palmas Street. He requested the building must contain both, living quarters and a large working space.
The result was a compound of three buildings; a main working space, a residential construction known as Frida Kahlo´s house, and a photographic laboratory for Kahlo´s father, Guillermo Kahlo completed in 1932 when the couple were still living in the States. It boasted two entrances, one on Altavista Avenue facing the living quarters, and the other on Palmas Street which leads directly to Rivera´s atelier.

Frida Kahlo´s house (Casa para Frida Kahlo), Juan O´Gorman, 1931.

Diego Rivera´s home and studio (Casa y estudio del pintor Diego Rivera), Juan O´Gorman, 1931.

Following Le Corbusier´s functionalist postulates, the ground floor is freed from walls functioning as a foyer and the upper floors are suspended over pilotis. A cacti fence encloses the plot allowing complete visualization to the Cecil O´Gorman house emphasizing its architectural harmony. Once again, Juan O´Gorman drew inspiration from another Le Corbusier creation, the 1922 home studio of French painter Amédée Ozenfant. Featuring industrial elements as the saw roof, a double external concrete spiral staircase, and exposed electrical and piping, O´Gorman´s creation is far more complex than the Ozenfant atelier.

The living quarters occupy a rather modest structure where the open plan ground floor is interrupted by the service lodgings and a semi-circular staircase visible from the street, which serves as the main access. Novelties were introduced in the form of an outer cantilever staircase leading to the roof terrace with a tubular rail, and the bright red exposed drainage and piping. Both structures, atelier and house, were joint by a concrete bridge.

Diego Rivera resided here from 1934 until his death in 1957. Frida Kahlo´s residency periods varied and were intermittent, preferring to stay at her paternal house in Coyoacan. After Rivera’s passing, his daughters inherited the structures and severely modified the compound.

Rivera´s eldest daughter received the living quarters and subdivided the plot, demolishing the concrete bridge. All the while, his younger offspring Ruth, a respected architect herself, remained at the atelier´s structure. During this period, it was drastically altered to transform the space into a residential dwelling. The open plan ground floor was encased with steel and glazed windows resembling the original design, an entire wing was added to contain a kitchen, main bedroom, and bathroom. Also, a volcanic stone wall replaced the cacti fence.

Views of the museum, prior to the 1997 restoration. Unidentified photographer.

After Ruth deceased, painter and husband Rafael Coronel purchased the adjacent plot from her sister in law and combined them both, recreating the original proportions. He sold the modified compound to the National Institute of Fine Arts in 1981 with the intention of creating a museum dedicated to Diego Rivera, a plan long thought by the artist´s daughter, Ruth Rivera.

After some years of cataloguing documents, private correspondence and photographs, the place opened as the Diego Rivera Museum on December 1986. Although, only the atelier structure was open to visitors, since the living quarters remained first, as a private residence and then as documentation and research facility.

Exterior and interior of the first museum site, ca. 1990. Unidentified photographer.

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.

Different views of the 1995-1997 restoration process. Unidentified photographer.

In 2011, The National Institute of Fine Arts was presented with the opportunity of acquiring the original 1929 Cecil Crawford house. Once again, a long-term restoration scheme was programmed to recover what was left of the original structure. This house too was relentlessly reformed from its original floorplans by adding an entire wing and the demolition of the helicoidal external staircase. One of the restoration´s accomplishments was to uncover the sinopia -or outlines- of an existing ground floor mural made by Juan O´Gorman in 1948, which he withdrew of the property in the late 1960´s.

As sequence of the permanent preservation program, in 2015 and 2016 the compound underwent extensive maintenance and repainting, fulfilling our duty as keepers of one of the most important milestones of Mexican architecture.

View from Altavista Avenue, ca. 2000. Unidentified photographer.

Publication date 17 January 2018