1st Edition

Architecture and Urbanism in Viceregal Mexico Puebla de los Ángeles, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

By Juan Luis Burke Copyright 2021
    232 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Architecture and Urbanism in Viceregal Mexico presents a fascinating survey of urban history between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. It chronicles the creation and development of Puebla de los Ángeles, a city located in central-south Mexico, during its viceregal period.

    Founded in 1531, the city was established as a Spanish settlement surrounded by important Indigenous towns. This situation prompted a colonial city that developed along Spanish colonial guidelines but became influenced by the native communities that settled in it, creating one of the most architecturally rich cities in colonial Spanish America, from the Renaissance to the Baroque periods. This book covers the city's historical background, investigating its civic and religious institutions as represented in selected architectural landmarks. Throughout the narrative, Burke weaves together sociological, anthropological, and historical analysis to discuss the city’s architectural and urban development.

    Written for academics, students, and researchers interested in architectural history, Latin American studies, and the Spanish American viceregal period, it will make an important contribution to the field.


    1. The Creation of a Town: Puebla de los Ángeles as an Urban and Theological Experiment (c. 1530s–1580s)

    2. The Grid and the Hill: Puebla’s Urban Form (c. 1530s–1610s)

    3. Urban Palaces and Architectural Treatises: A New World Renaissance in Puebla (c. 1570s–1630s)

    4. The Bishop and his Cathedral: Juan de Palafox’s Ideal Christian Republic (c. 1600s–1650s)

    5. Decline and Splendor: Puebla de los Ángeles’ Baroque Era (c. 1660s–1770s)




    Juan Luis Burke is Assistant Professor of Architectural and Urban History at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research is centered on Mexican and Latin American architecture and urbanism, and its interactions with Europe, particularly Italy and Spain.

    "Turning our gaze away from Mexico City and from conventional art historical stylistic accounts, this remarkable scholarly study offers an important corrective to our understanding of colonial architecture and urbanism in Mexico. The book discusses the cultural and intellectual primary sources behind the impulses that crystallized in the urban design and major architecture of Puebla de los Ángeles, an important paradigm for Viceregal Mexico."

    Dr. Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Bronfman Professor of the History of Architecture, McGill University, Montreal

    "Today’s debates in architecture are finally revisiting the role that our discipline played in the mechanisms of colonization. Burke’s discussion of Puebla, Mexico, is a significant step in that direction for the author dissects how the built environment was an integral part of the process of colonizing spaces and peoples of the Americas."

    Fernando Luiz Lara, Professor and Director of PhD Program in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin

    "Mythically founded by angels as an embodiment of Heavenly Jerusalem, the town of Puebla soon became a complex multicultural city in need of constantly reimagining its utopian origins through the medium of building. In synthetically retelling its story from perspectives that range from theology to architectural theory, Burke has made an invaluable contribution to the study of early-modern age urbanism."

    Juan Manuel Heredia, Associate Professor of Architecture, Portland State University

    "Architecture and Urbanism offers an indispensable introduction to the rich, underutilized archives and libraries whose documents narrate the urban history of early colonial Mexico’s second city, Puebla de los Ángeles. Burke presents a coherent narrative about the development of the city’s urban form and principal monuments, integrating Spanish-language scholarship and regional archival sources with English-language literature." 

    Esquivel, S., (2024) “New Spain's Second City: Architecture and Urbanism of Puebla de los Ángeles”, Architectural Histories.