The colors of San Miguel
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
The façades of the historic center are being restored with federal funding. They are being painted in ocher and earth tones, although in the future the city could be multicolored.
Édgar Bautista, director of the Urban Development Department, commented that the historic center is made up of 32 blocks, where currently they are restoring the façades with federal resources of eight million pesos from the program HABITAT Vertiente Centros Históricos. The restoration of these buildings will conclude between December of this year and January 2014. The director said that before beginning the restorations a census of the damaged buildings is conducted to determine which will be restored.
Those interested in having their façades restored can request this work at the Social and Human Development Department (Dirección de Desarrollo Social y Humano), located on Boulevard de la Conspiración 130. The department will decide, along with other departments, if the building meets the criteria for the project. Façades to be restored must be located in the historic center or the World Heritage area appointed by UNESCO.
In the mid-1990s, according to Bautista, there was a program called “One Hundred Cities,” in which the authorized range of colors to be used in San Miguel was registered: earth tones and shades of ocher. Prior to the restoration of the façade, workers from the Urban Development Department present samples of the authorized colors to the owner of the house, so they can choose one. Bautista said that “the colors people prefer are red and yellow. White is used for the civic buildings, such as the old city hall building, which changed its color in 2011 from red to white.”
The director said that currently his department and the National Institute of Anthropology and History are conducting a study to determine the colors that could be allowed in the city in the future. That study has shown that San Miguel was once a multicolored city, and the colors chosen for houses depended on the homeowner’s wealth, because some colors were more expensive to produce than others.
Article 39 of the Regulation of Construction of San Miguel de Allende states that the façades of buildings must be flat and painted in ocher tones or painted with lime in the historic center and buffer zone.
Although in the urban area that does not include the historic center colors are more flexible, permission must be requested from the Urban Development Department, which will approve or deny the request according to the location of the building.