|Water, Origin of Life on Earth|
|An elegant Beaux Arts Building contains a water tank as part of the Lermas Project|
|Elegant towers mark the center of each round reservoir|
|Columner cacti and Agaves planted en mass on top of each reservoir|
|A Mixtec style rattlesnake swallowing its tail in the style of an Uroburos winds around each reservoir tank|
|Water once flowed inside a canal in the body of each serpent|
|A series of toothed openings appear to have been cascades for water filling pools inside of the peremeter serpent canals|
|A mural of the Mixtec (Aztec) capitol of Tenoctitlan in the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, by Diego Rivera|
|A canal at Xochimilco|
|Trajinera boats are modeled after Prehispanic vessels called Acallis. They ply the canals at Xochimilco carrying tourists.|
|A street lined with small plant nurseries|
Drainage of the lake basin is the cause for another significant problem for the city. It is sinking. In the past 100 years some areas of the city have sunken as much at 42 feet. Many old buildings tilt noticably, especially heavy historic stone churches in the center. Approximately 70% of the urban water supply is pumped from the aquifer beneath the city and it is estimated that the land on which it is built is now sinking at a rate of as much as 8 inches a year! This puts lower parts of the city at great risk of flooding during the rainy season and requires a substancial pump system to remove waste water from the valley.
|The dramatic slant of Iglesia de Santa Veracruz in the Centro Historico of Mexico City is caused by the sinking former lake bed.|
|Information signs describing the function of the water storage system|
|The Edificio Carcamo, with four valves and a meteorological sensor at the entrance|
Executed in 1951, Rivera used paints with a polystyrene base to create the extraordinary waterproof mural, El Agua, Origen de la Vida en la Tierra, Water, The Origin of Life on Earth, which covers 272 square meters (nearly 3,000 square feet).
|One face of the mural honors the engineers who designed the project, lined up over the four gates that channeled the water in to the four reservoirs|
|Diego Rivera painting portraits of the engineers who worked on the project, taken from an interpretive plaque|
|The Origin of Life|
|A biological list of the various organisms within the mural, The Origin of Life|
|Floor of the mural, The Origin of Life on Earth|
|Aquatic life forms in the process of evolution|
|The flowing current of water and an array of organisms, entering the tunnel that once connected the tank to the water system|
|Life at the threshold between water and land|
|The evolotion of higher forms of life and the transition to land|
|Part of a Crab,a Jellyfish, and a Turtle and a Snail|
On opposite sides perpendicular from the the tunnel that connects to the water system are an African Man and an Asian Woman as representations of early humans. They are partially submerged in the water, connecting the aquatic world to the cultural aspects of how humans use water.
|An African Man stands partially submerged, representing early humanity|
|On the opposite wall stands an Asian Woman representing a later evolution of humanity|
Across the the panel of engineers and the four water gates are paintings of workers constructing the tunnel that transports the water to the system and provide it to the people of Mexico City.
|On either side of the connecting tunnel are depictions of the engineering of the water system|
The uses of water are expressed in scenes of agriculture, hygiene, and pleasure. The system provides water for the cultivation of plants, quenching thirst, washing, and filling swimming pools.
|A spigot and hose brings water to a garden|
|Diego Rivera's daughter is depicted swimming, representing water providing recreational pleasure in a swimming pool|
|A photo of Diego Rivera and assistants working on the mural|
|A worker providing water to an Indigenous family to quench their thirst|
|On the opposite wall a worker offers water to the bourgeoisie, represented by a pious woman|
|An unusual detail of a boy street performer in the mural painted by Diego Rivera|
|A photo of the Origin of Life with water in the tank|
The artist used the Lambdoma matrix, which is originally attributed to the Greek philosopher Pythagorus around 500 BC to create a mysterious and intoxicating aural experience inside the domed building of the Cárcamo. It is hard for me to explain but what essentially it is is a mathematical table of multiplication and division that has a direct relationship with musical intervals in a harmonic series. These intervals can be translated in to frequencies of audible sound.
|A Lambdoma Table|
This may all sound very confusing unless you are an acoustical scientist but the fact that Ariel Guzik constructed this magical device in this beautiful domed space with its marvelous acoustics speaks for itself. It is an audible homage to the miraculous substance that is water.
|Artists renderings explaining the systems that regulate the Lambdoma Chamber|
And this is just what you find inside the Cárcamo de Dolores. Step outside the glass doors and you find yourself in the midst of a monumental sculptural mosaic fountain of the Precolumbian God of Rain and Water, Tlaloc.
|The Fuente de Tláloc from inside the Cárcamo|
|The Fuente de Tláloc and the Cárcamo|
|The head of the Mixtec (Aztec) God of Rain and Water, Tláloc|
|The second face of the God Tláloc is directed to the sky|
|The stepped pyramid like slope facing the Fuente de Tláloc|
|A photo of a photo on a placard of the Fuente de Tláloc taken from above showing the entire mosaic|
|The pool as a mirror of the sky|
|This abstract ceramic depiction of the rain God Tláloc with a symbol of the four corners of the universe, Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Mexico City|
|Another ceramic plaque representing the Aztec God of Rain, Tláloc, Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Mexico City|
|Ceremonial water vessels bearing the image of the Rain God Tláloc, Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Mexico City|
|A mosaic fish at the bottom of the pool of the Tlalock Fountain|
In the God's right hand he bears two beautifully rendered cobs of ripe corn which were picked from the mosaic maize field depicted at the bottom of the pool. Maize continues to be the most important staple of Mexican cuisine and the cultivation of corn over the ages represents sustenance.
|Two ears of corn in Tlálocs right hand|
|Part of the mosaic representing a field of maize on the bottom of the pool surrounding Tláloc's right hand|
On the left sandal the eagle finds a route under the mountains for the water to flow. The eagle stands on a cactus and the water takes on the form of a serpent, which alludes to the design found on the Mexican Flag. This image is derived from the myth that led the Aztec people to found their capital in the Valley of Mexico.
|Mosaic on the left sandal depicting an eagle on a cactus bringing water under the mountains|
And with this ends a laborious essay on an incredible and little known gem in the vast, epic expanse that is Mexico City. It inspired me to do a great deal of research in order to understand it better, and it inspires me to bring the richness of meaning that I strive to incorporate in to my own work to a higher level. Thanks for reading this. It was a lot of work but a pleasure to do. And I took all the photos, Jeffrey
|A painting of the symbol of the nation of Mexico, an eagle on a cactus with a snake in its beak in the Palacio Nacional, Mexico City|
|A man hole cover displayed outside the water tower, Chapultepec Park|