The Maison du Mexique was designed by the architect Jorge L. Medellin, assisted by his brother, the engineer Roberto E. Medellin.
The accommodation is divided into two parallel buildings: the first has three floors and was initially intended for female students and the other has five floors for male students. The two blocks are connected on the ground floor by a free form volume where the communal services are located. The cantilevered canopy is typical of the time as well as the large metallic inscription at the top of the northern gable. The large volumes are covered in stone panels and the windows, in horizontal bands, and are framed by red concrete. On the outside a stone mural commemorates the discovery of Mayan paintings on the Bonampak archaeological site. On the inside, the furniture was designed by Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé.
In the 1920s the French government invited Mexico to participate in a construction project at the Cité internationale. Since 1925 a plot was reserved on the site for a house intended to welcome Mexican university students. However, the Maison du Mexique wasn’t inaugurated until the 8th of October 1953. Its construction was financed entirely by the Mexican government and certain individuals, notably families belonging to the French colony established in Mexico.
The house holds the status of a foundation and is recognised as a public utility of which the board of directors is chaired by the Mexican ambassador in France.
In 2006, the Maison acquired a replica of the “Sun stone”, an Aztec calendar which is 3.6 metres in diameter that was discovered in Mexico’s central plaza in 1790.
Between September 2014 and June 2015 the building was renovated to respond to the students’ needs: comfortable rooms and adapted living spaces. So, the kitchens on every floor, true places of conviviality, were made bigger and equipped with a dining room, and the bathrooms were renovated. Circulation was completely redesigned with the installation of the entrance door, located on the north side, allowing the public access to open spaces: conference rooms, a multipurpose room and reception. On this occasion the historic furniture was restored and installed in the completely glass lounge. The building has 92 rooms.
Manuel Felguérez Barra (1928-2020) is a Mexican abstract artist, a member of the “Generación de la Ruptura”, a movement that moved away from Diego Rivera’s muralist movement. In 1998 a museum in his name was opened in his birth town of Zacatecas.
The Maison du Mexique houses one of the six specialised libraries at the Cité internationale: the Sor Juana Inès de la Cruz library. It has close to 12,000 volumes on Mexico.