With the best technology available at the moment, 10 years ago, companies and professionals dedicated to building illumination began working in Mexico, mainly on Colonial Religious constructions as Zacatecas Cathedral, in Zacatecas, Cuitzeo Agustinian Ex Convent in Michoacan and Santo Domingo de Guzman Temple in Oaxaca.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) organized the International Seminar of Historic Monuments Illumination International Seminar, with the aim of unifying criteria that remarks built heritage preservation. The meeting took place in Taxco, Guerrero.

At the inauguration of the academic forum, Agustin Salgado, INAH Historical Monuments national coordinator (CNMH), expressed that to present, “the concern is not to fix or place installations anymore, because we can illuminate a building from afar; in this sense, the case of Santa Prisca temple, in Taxco, is remarkable”.

The architect invited specialists to share their experiences, favorable or not, considering the theoretical moment of the restoration when these initiatives took place, as well as knowledge, instruments and technical methods valid at the moment.

Aspects to be considered are architectural unity, as well as non-intrusive materials and lighting systems, according to historical and scenic values of the cultural good; “this is the only way to establish theoretical, methodological and technological fundaments for built heritage value enhancement”.

Architect Ana Maria Lara Gutierrez, INAH-CNMH Licenses, Inspections and Registers director, alerted that light pollution affects sky observation, and recalled the Ensenada, Baja California experience, when, in 2006, regulations were established to favor energy conservation and sky darkness preservation.  

Taking these issues into account, and looking forward to train staff laboring at the Institute and entities related to these projects, INAH organized the Historical Monuments Illumination Seminar, with the intention of providing basic knowledge regarding illumination projects and tools to evaluate petitions received by INAH.

The inauguration was attended by Nora Elisa Mendez Gonzalez, director of Instituto Guerrerense de Cultura (Guerrero Culture Institute); Jorge Figueroa Ayala, general secretary of Taxco de Alarcon City Hall; Blanca Jimenez Padilla, director of Guerrero INAH Center, and Salvador Aceves Garcia, advisor to INAH General Direction.

Architect Alfonso Jimenez Martin, main architect at Seville Cathedral, in Spain, inaugurated presentations. Considered the greatest church in the world, until early 20th century it was illuminated with candles and olive oil lamps.

Jimenez Marin declared that the management model, which allows it to be self-sustainable, sets the pace for the administration of the nearly 70 Spanish cathedrals, which “are turning into museums that once in a while celebrate masses”.

“Illumination of religious precincts has always had a symbolic function; due to Marian cult, they posses a formal repertoire related to how light is produced; I invite you to deepen into archaeology of these installations, from chandeliers to gas bulbs”, he concluded.