The Japanese Embassy in Mexico: a Fortunate Association, a Threatened Heritage





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


An examination of the architectural value of the Japanese Embassy in Mexico, designed by Kenzo Tange, Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and Manuel Rosen Morrison, which is in danger of being demolished. The context of mid-century Mexican architecture is addressed in order to situate this work within its historic moment, thus confirming its importance. This building was the result of an intellectual encounter between one Japanese and two Mexican architects, who exchanged ideas, concepts and criteria, resulting in a building with an innovative formal design, due to the use of reinforced concrete, and the flexibility of its structural concept, which allows it to be adapted to different uses. This article is essentially based on the archive of the architect Manuel Rosen Morrison, held by the Archive of Mexican Architects at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Faculty of Architecture.

How to Cite

Cruz, L. (2021). The Japanese Embassy in Mexico: a Fortunate Association, a Threatened Heritage. Docomomo Journal, (63), 62–69.




Author Biography

Lourdes Cruz, National Autonomous University of Mexico

Doctor of Architecture, researcher and coordinator of the Archive of Mexican Architects at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México’s Faculty of Architecture. Author of books, chapters and articles on the history of Mexican architecture in the 20th century, she is a founding member and the treasurer of docomomo Mexico and a member of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Mexico and the National Academy of Architecture.


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ROSEN MORRISON, Manuel, “Embajada de Japón… ‘Un edificio que canta,’” Construnoticias, No. 144, Mexico, January 1976, 73-77.

KUAN, Seng, LIPPIT, Yukio (eds.), Kenzo Tange. Architecture for the world, London, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Lars Müller Publishers, 2012.

NOELLE, Louise, Arquitectos Contemporáneos de México, Mexico, Editorial Trillas, 1989.

PORRÚA, Miguel Ángel (ed.), Arquitectura/Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, Mexico, 2013.

ROSEN MORRISON, Manuel, Manuel Rosen Morrison. Arquitectura, Mexico, Editorial Limusa, 2005.

VARGAS SALGUERO, Ramón, Pabellones y museos de Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, Mexico, Noriega-Limusa, 1995.