Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pedro Ramirez Vazquez April 16, 1919 - April 19, 2013 Architect Led Many Modernist Projects in Mexico

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pedro Ramirez Vazquez April 16, 1919 - April 19, 2013 Architect Led Many Modernist Projects in Mexico

Article excerpt

Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, the architect who led many of Mexico's landmark modernist construction projects of the mid-20th century, including museums, the country's largest sports stadium and the shrine that attracts its most important religious pilgrimage, died April 16, his 94th birthday, in Mexico City.

His death was announced by Mexico's National Arts Council.

Over six decades in which much of Mexico evolved from a mostly peasant society into a modern industrial state, Mr. Ramirez and his collaborators built a series of monuments to Mexican culture, including the National Museum of Anthropology, the Azteca soccer stadium, the Legislative Palace and the Basilica of Guadalupe, all in Mexico City. Millions of Mexican Roman Catholic pilgrims converge on the basilica each spring.

Mr/ Ramirez designed the national headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico from 1929 through 2000 and whose all-powerful presidents commissioned most of his projects. He built many government structures, including the Foreign and Labor Ministries, and served in government himself, as secretary of human settlements and public works from 1977 to 1982.

Outside Mexico he was known for designing the Mexican pavilions at several World's Fairs, including the one that opened in 1964 in New York.

His public profile rose, and was marred, four years later when he led the organizing committee of the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, which he orchestrated as a showcase of Mexico's modernization and the government's posture as a nonaligned power during the Cold War.

An army massacre of scores of anti-government protesters days before the games provoked an international outcry, and though there is no evidence that he helped organize the violence, as president of the Olympics committee he defended the crackdown and hewed to government propaganda in asserting that international journalists had exaggerated the bloodletting. …

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