Santa Mónica Temple, Tlacoquemécatl del Valle

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santa monica temple
Photo: Catedrales e Iglesias/Cathedrals and Churches, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)


The Santa Mónica Temple in Tlacoquemécatl del Valle is one of the best known examples of Mexico City’s lugubrious 20th century architecture. Built in 1962, it was for many years among the most radical and influential of churches. The church is so prominent, it often outshines the much older Chapel of San Lorenzo. The former atrium of the older chapel, today’s Parque San Lorenzo, is even sometimes called the Santa Mónica Park.

In fact, the temple design includes two of its own rather wide atriums, although it is still understood to face the park across Fresas street. The building is in the shape of an inverted shell. A second atrium faces the south entrance to the building at Calle San Lorenzo. Together, all of this park space helps to lighten the rather heavily urbanized area.

Stained-glass windows adorn the three triangular edges above the three entranceways. Architects on the project were Fernando López Carmona and Carlos Rios López. What they achieved has been imitated in multiple other churches, not least in the Del Valle Church of the Divine Providence, just a few blocks to the south and east.

Today’s Santa Mónica Temple survived the 2020 pandemic with a strong presence on their social channels. Not least were regular masses on the church’s Facebook page.

Mexico City

Cultural Capital of the Americas