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Mixteca Alta Ex Convents Restoration Continues
Juan Urquiaga Blanco, the architect in charge of the restoration of the former convent of San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca. Photo: Hector Montano/INAH.

MEXICO CITY.- Santo Domingo Yanhuitlan, San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula, and San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca, samples of 16th and 17th centuries’ religious architecture, in Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca, are being restored by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), after an earthquake damaged them in 1999, with a 28 million MXP investment.

Architectonic rehabilitation work conducted in the 3 conventual conjuncts is part of an INAH priority project that will have considerable advances during 2009.

The salvage initiative that began in 2006, counts on the support of Getty Conservation Institute, Banamex Cultural Foment, Banamex Social Foment and Alfredo Harp Helu Foundation as well as communities.

Almost 10 years after the earthquake, consolidation of several structures has been achieved and they no longer represent harm for visitors and parishioners.

Architect Juan Urquiaga Blanco, acknowledged for rehabilitation of Ex Convent of Santo Domingo de Guzman, in Oaxaca City, is responsible of work at Mixteca Alta. “In Yanhuitlan, integral restoration of the temple and main cloister will be finished in 2010; in Teposcolula, work has focused on the chapel’s central vault”.

Intervention of San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca Ex Convent has been exemplary. It was built in 1546, and the apse and bell tower affectations have been resolved with the support of architects Sergio Calderon, Carlos Gris, Alfredo Sanchez, Jesus Samano, and 80 workers from the community.

Urquiaga Blanco commented that facing the tower’s risk of collapse, it was dismounted with collaboration of Colinas de Buen engineering company. The 18th century bell tower will be reconstructed with a system based in neoprene that facilitates oscillation if earth trembles. Ashlars less damaged will be reused, and more resistant quarry reinforces the concrete internal skeleton.

The altarpiece restoration will be finished this year. A structure was installed composed of two 14 meters high posts and pine crosspieces, where the previously dismounted altarpiece will be fixed by INAH restorers, to allow the artwork to oscillate in the event of an earthquake.

Work conducted for 8 seasons at Coixtlahuaca Ex Convent includes reintegration of the west wing ambulatory vault, critic zones of the open chapel arc were consolidated, among other chores.

National Institute of Anthropology and History | Mixteca | Oaxaca | Teposcolula | San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca |

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