Casa Alvarado Sound Archive

Mexico’s national sound archive is one of Latin America’s most prestigious.

The last home of Octavio Paz, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is now the site of the Fonoteca Nacional, which preserves Mexico’s audio heritage.

This space is also known as the Casa Alvarado because legend says the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado once lived here.

Andalusian and Moorish influences abound in the mansion’s 18th-century architecture. The main door, carved of fine wood, is inspired by one of the doors of the Colegio de San Ildefonso school, and the doorway holds a sculpture of Saint John of Nepomuk.

The house was renovated by architects, historians, and restorationists to adapt it for the audio library. They restored its architectural features and original colors. Spaces were also remodeled to create an auditorium, the Salvador Novo library, exhibition halls, galleries, and recording and post-production studios.

Notice the extraordinary wide-ranging list of activities to see all the acoustic events in each of the spaces. Listening circles meet in the Octavio Paz audio library to hear materials from the collection touching on a variety of topics, for example Julio Cortázar and jazz.

Another spot worth a look is the Jardín Sonoro (Sound Garden), equipped with a high-fidelity multichannel audio system. The restoration by Dutch architect Kees van Rooij brought back the vegetation that the Magical Neighborhood of Coyoacán is known for. Amidst oaks, cypresses, and orange trees, you can hear sound art pieces, experimental compositions, works of poetry, and concerts.




Fonoteca Nacional, Avenida Francisco Sosa, Santa Catarina, Coyoacán, CDMX, Mexico

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