This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "How a Small Mexico City Exhibition Fueled a Debate About Preservation and Power."
It’s a slate-gray day in Mexico City’s Colonia Narvarte neighborhood and mounting gusts signal imminent rain. Centro SCOP, a sprawling bureaucratic complex, rises sharply against this bleak backdrop. The building is a masterful, if not intimidating, example of Mexican Modernism, an H-shaped assemblage of muscular concrete volumes designed by architect Carlos Lazo, covered in an acre-and-a-half of vibrant mosaic murals.
At its peak, the building accommodated more than 3,000 workers for the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT). Today, save a security guard in its gatehouse, it is empty.