La Mujer Chimenea (The Chimney Woman) – México D.F., Mexico - Atlas Obscura

México D.F., Mexico

La Mujer Chimenea (The Chimney Woman)

Mexico's second-tallest monument, now half-hidden in a private residential complex 

Toltecas Street in mid-western Mexico City was named after the Tolteca Cement Factory that used to operate on it. After the factory closed in 1986, its buildings were razed and the only heritage of its industrial past left behind was a lone brick chimney. The land formerly occupied by the factory was eventually acquired by real estate developers Grupo Copri. In 2005, under an initiative by cultural developer Isaac Masri, Copri and the Mexico City Government reached an agreement that would see the terrain turned into a public park with cultural installations and artwork. That same year, artist Gabriel Macotela was commissioned to create the first artwork of the park.

With technical assistance from engineers of the local universities UNAM and IPN, Macotela intervened the post-industrial chimney, adding inox bronze cutouts to it in order to give it a decidedly non-figurative feminine aura. Completed a year later and dubbed “The Chimney Woman”, Macotela dedicated this monument to the memory of late poet Efraín Huerta. At 100 meters (328 feet), it was Mexico’s tallest monument until the 2011 unveiling of the 104-meter (341 feet) Stela of Light (home of the Centro de Cultura Digital https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/centro-de-cultura-digital).

The MXN $22M cost of the sculpture was split by Grupo Copri and the Mexico City Government with the future park in mind. The real estate developers eventually backed out of the plan and developed these grounds for habitation instead. Apartment blocks were built around the Chimney Woman, blocking its visibility from many of its former view points and effectively privatizing it. The public park initiative eventually went ahead in a much-reduced scale resulting in nearby Bioparque Urbano San Antonio.

Know Before You Go

The sculpture now sits entirely within the Parque San Antonio private residential complex and can only be seen up close by visiting a resident or staying on-site. Rooms and apartments located in the complex are available for rent online. Given its size, The Chimney Woman is easily-seen from many points of the city. Confusingly, one of the best viewing points is nearby San Antonio Urban Biopark.