When the city market of Toluca, Mexico was closed in 1975, local artist Leopoldo Flores stepped forward with a plan to save the historic site. He convinced the city government to invest in a creative reuse of the building as a botanical garden with stained glass art showing the relationship between man and the universe. Flores gave the space the name Cosmovitral, a linguistic blend of the Spanish words for cosmos and glass.
To support the new artistic additions of 45 tons of blown glass and 25 tons of lead, the existing building had to be significantly strengthened and the walls reinforced with 75 tons of metal support. The half a million pieces of glass are arranged in expansive murals and a mosaic glass ceiling that tops the solarium. The centerpiece is an amazing image of a man in flames entitled Hombre Sol or Sun Man. Meant to represent humanity in harmony and balance with the heavens, Hombre Sol is perfectly aligned with the spring equinox and is so popular that it has become synonymous with the city of Toluca.
Now filled with over 500 plants from around the globe, the gardens receive thousands of visitors every year, but with over 95 percent of them from Mexico itself, the Cosmovitral remains relatively unknown to those outside the country.
via [The Visual News]