Patzcuaro Travel Blog

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A trip through some new residential housing developments here in Patzcuaro brought me back to my days at the University of Detroit and my buddies in the "School of ArchiTorture". The long nights and need to be creative on demand (way, way pre CAD and computers!) were constant topics of conversation both within and outside the school. Architecture in Mexico is also an interesting topic of discussion in its oxymoronic nature. Modern building here is an interesting mix of the traditional - traditional methods & materials, traditional look, build by traditional manual laborers and the modern - lots of windows, utilities and modern conveniences.

The most striking feature to my eyes is that much of the (especially residential) building here borders on ostentatious in its design and implementation.

While this may not differ from much of the building up north, the interesting difference here is that virtually all of the upscale (and  many downscale) houses are completely surrounded by 10' high walls (embedded with a kind of old world barbed wire of broken bottles) and almost always with totally opaque gates and entrys. At least in those secure(?) "gated communities" the gates are only at the entrance to the community leaving the monstrosities and Goudys within at least able to be viewed, awed and admired by fellow McMansionites.

Interesting to me that one would go to the trouble of building a big, grandiose and, yes, ostentatious building one would think was to show off their real or need to be percieved wealth only to hide it from all eyes.

It's a further irony is the number of these places that appear to not be occupied very much of the time much less lived in year around! This of course could be attributed to the growing number of Nortenos who are building and living here part-year but also is a very strong indicator of the growing upper and upper middle class here.

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photo by: Biedjee