Millions of pebbles stud the walls of the now-abandoned Secretariat of Communications and Public Works (SCOP) Center. The images they create tell parts of Mexico’s history up until the 1950s, highlighting the country’s technological advances.
Inaugurated in 1954 by Communications Secretary Carlos Lazo, the SCOP Center was planned to be an integral campus for the organization’s bureaucrats. In addition to the administrative areas, it had nurseries, healthcare areas, and a housing unit where workers would live.
Like the UNAM Central Library, the building’s walls are adorned with murals embedded with colorful pebbles. Children from all over Mexico were invited to send in stones to add to the artwork.
Each stone was numbered and put in place by a team of artists including Juan O’Gorman, Chávez Morado, George Best, Francisco Zúñiga, Rosendo Soto, Rodrigo Arenas, and others. The murals show the history of communications in Mexico. You’ll see images alluding to nuclear energy, radio waves, old TV boxes, and 1950s-era cars.
Unfortunately, the SCOP Center was destined to fail. Despite warnings that its foundations were not quite sturdy, the workers piled tons of heavy files throughout the building. During the 1985 earthquake that shook the city, much of the building was left badly damaged.
Restoration efforts did begin, largely prompted by a desire to conserve the murals. But the building was dealt yet another devastating blow in 2017, when another massive earthquake struck the city.
The structure was abandoned after the devastating natural disaster. Today, its murals cause some controversy, as several have been dismantled and hidden in warehouses while others still remain visible in the abandoned building.
Know Before You Go
There's no need to attempt to enter the abandoned building, as many of the murals can be seen from the sidewalk.