Casa Kamffer was remodeled in 1960 by Raul Kamffer, the French-style house built in the thirties was transformed to Mexican neocolonial, although it really is a fusion of styles since many of the components were demolition materials, some very old such as the iron gates and the colonial columns which support The House but who was really Raul Kamffer, not only he was my father, he also was an antiquarian, run an art art gallery, a filmmaker, wrote several scripts which we are actually looking for a brave director to film them, an expert in Pre-Columbian Art and finally an architect, although he never graduated. He told me that The House had influences from El Caco Parra, a great student of Barragán, El Caco nicknamed like that because when he was a student he was very poor and had to steal materials from his classmates in order to continue studying, of course his great merit was to give a Mexican flavor to El Estilo Barragán, probably his most emblematic work is La Casa del Indio Fernández in Coyoacán.
The history of Casa Kamffer is vast and I will probably forget several anecdotes but let’s start at the very beginning, my parents belonged to The Communist Party and were always from the left, this led us to have several visits from the world of arts and politics, Che Guevara stayed a few nights after fleeing from Guatemala, Siqueiros held a meeting when he got out of jail, which they forbade me to attend but anyway I sneaked in and the master liked me so much that I was the guest of honor at the inauguration of the Cuauhtémoc Mural in Bellas Artes, which my parents would not let me attend because we sided more with the Diego Rivera faction. Siqueiros was totally an Stalinist.
The Nomenklatura came to this house twice to expel my parents from the Communist Party, I can still hear the shouts, the last one was in 1968 the student movement, the grievance was that my parents who attended the UNAM at that time supported what the boys decided and the party wanted to manipulate them, the best thing about belonging was the parties to which Oscar Chavez came to sing, by the way I forgot to mention that my father was a sybarite and every day there were splendid meals the wine flowed so the usual suspects, from the film industry theater or politics such as Jodorowsky, Jorge Fons,Juan Mora, Tony Khun, La Chona’s husband, actor Hector Ortega and his brother in law Carlos Payán, ex-director of La Jornada, there were more suspects but I don’t feel like remembering them just now.
In the world of cinema there were luminous visits like Peter O’Toole, Elizabeth Taylor, John Houston also was the location of El Perro y La Calentura, a film directed by Raul Kamffer, one of the first art-porno films ever made, also several CUEC shorts where my mother Leonor Alvarez was a teacher and she lent them The House, which was sometimes a nuisance, in 2020 was the location of the short La Chamaca from The Bricolagista film company, in which the one who writes this words is the main actor.
When my parents finally separated celebrities stop coming in droves but the show must go on, now we were hosts to real younger lets get wasted parties with the presence of Rita Guerrero, Son De Madera, Abraham Cruz Villegas and many more. In the rebellion not The Communist Party anymore but still left wing, we gave asylum in 2006 to comrades fleeing the repression from the sister Republic of Oaxaca, another time we hosted 50 Huichol indians who came to the big city to legalize their lands, just imagine the problems we had to go to the bathroom, lately the house participates in the bicycle revival and hosts the first meeting of El Paseo de Todos, a group that currently has more than 4000 cyclists riding around Mexico City, we still had famous guests who stayed longer than expected, like the heads of ONGs such as Charlie Cordero of Fundación Mexico Vivo or Miho Hagino of Fundación Paisaje Social and last but not least hosted Wirikuta on the roof, a high temperature ceramic workshop directed by my brother Marco Kamffer who currently lives in Contreras.
We pull trough earthquakes, some burglary attempts, fires scares which led to the chimney of the house being closed, survived when the secret police raid us looking for marijuana, we got used to the virus of gentrification with the consequent increase of expenses still managing to keep The House even more beautiful, all good things come to an end, we are moving to the forest, time to live more according to the principles, The House is for sale, hopefully those who buy it will treasure it.