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The Cárcamo of Dolores and the Fountain of Tláloc

The Cárcamo de Dolores del Río Lerma is the result of a public work linked directly to the spirit of the “Plastic Integration” movement that joined works of architecture, sculpture and painting. Diego Rivera, the famed Mexican artist who argued that architecture is a more complete and complex art than painting because of its considerations of space, received a proposal from the architect Ricardo Rivas to design the reception and distribution site of the Río Dolores system that began construction in 1943. Given that Rivera held interests in pre-Columbian cultures, he decided to incorporate a classic Toltec aesthetic into his design for the building. The Toltec design is represented in three key elements: the building itself, the sculpture-painting of the water god Tláloc and the mural called Water, the Origin of Life on Earth.

Designed to be observed from an aerial view, the Tláloc fountain is a remarkable arrangement of stones that reflects Mesoamerican depictions of Mexican indigenous ancestry. The fountain’s inclusion in the architecture of the site furthers the philosophies of the Plastic Integration movement by integrating visual and sculptural elements into the designs of city infrastructure. The facility is a wonderful marriage of functionality and aesthetics, turning a vital component of the Lerma water treatment and distribution system into one of the Chapultepec Park’s most impressive artistic installations. The Cárcamo de Dolores is an ode to Mexico’s water sources that visually represents the theories of Russian biologist Alexander Oparin, who believed water to be an important driver of human evolution.1

Project name El Cárcamo de Dolores y fuente de Tláloc
Period 1943
Author Diego Rivera
Location Avenida Rodolfo Neri Vela S/N, Miguel Hidalgo, Bosque de Chapultepec II Secc, 11850, CDMX
  1. Ciudad de México, “Cárcamo de Dolores”, Gobierno de la Ciudad de México. Retrieved from URL: