Alberto Odériz: El Zócalo


In 1843 was convened a contest in Mexico City for a monument to the heroes of independence. The monument was going to be a column in the center of its main square. Its construction began but the column was never finished. Only the plinth was concluded. For years the base of the monument stayed there. Citizens began to call the main square plinth: zócalo in Spanish.

Throughout its history the place has changed names (Arms Square, Main Square, Palace Square or Constitution Square), also has changed uses (bullring, market, parades, processions). However, the name of Zócalo that the people gave it, has remained to this day.

This story about the origin of the Zócalo tenaciously reminds us that any construction on the square is temporary and that protagonists are the citizens. On the occasion of the 2014 Fair Cultures instead of building a monument, a plinth for people is proposed. A small forum with 20 meters diameter made of 45,000 concrete blocks (24x12x7cm) is meant to be recovered once the Fair is finished, in June.

This is not the first time that Zócalo square is hosting a fair. Not the last. Every month, every week, every day, this square receives events and new visitors. We could even say that the main quality of Zócalo is to be a place to host anything: fairs, monuments, celebrations, parades, concerts and ice rinks. But above all Zócalo welcomes people.
The installation Zócalo was meant to be a meeting place, the meaning was always under construction and was none other than the collective sum of all the people that visited it: children playing with kites, tourists, politicians who give speeches, couples who fall in love, citizens commemorating anniversaries and also manifested when they disagree with injustice.

El Zócalo, Mexico City
Program: temporary installation
Architect: Alberto Odériz
Team: Alejandro Palafox and Pamela Hernández
Construction: Lucía Villers (
Client: Feria de las Culturas Amigas 2014 – CDMX



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