Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Hispanic Studies


Alena Robin

2nd Supervisor

Cody Barteet

Joint Supervisor


Today, the revered sanctuary of Tepeyac where the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe appeared in 1531, is one of the most visited sites in Mexico and one of the most culturally characteristics spaces of Mexico City. The urban and architectural space of guadalupanista sacred enclosure has continuously transformed since the sixteenth century. This focuses primarily on the years 1976 to 2011 to analyze the Mexican cultural identity that has developed during that time. Both dates are important because they represent the last two built interventions within the sanctuary and they mark the urban image of the sacred space and surroundings. In 1976 the new basilica of Guadalupe was inaugurated. The temple was designed by the Mexican architects Pedro Ramírez Vázquez (1919 - 2013), José Luis Benlliure (1928 - 1994), and Friar Gabriel Chávez de la Mora (1929). In 2011, the site of the Plaza Mariana was completed, with the final building designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero (1971). To better understand the current urban spaces of the Guadalupe complex, this thesis begins by examining the urban and architectural transformations from the pre-Hispanic times to the current era. Then, this thesis analyzes the social, political, and economic circumstances that made the construction of the new basilica and Plaza Mariana possible, in conjunction with a discussion of the reasons behind the controversial cancellation of numerous well-crafted design proposals, which proceeded the current built works. Through a careful analysis of disparate sources, it is possible to understand and interpret the development of a specific component of Mexican cultural identity as derived from Guadalupe complex in Mexico City.