13 Sep Luis Barragán: 5 Iconic Works
One cannot talk about Mexican architecture without thinking of Luis Barragán. This architect, who was born in the state of Jalisco, is the genius mind behind many architectural icons in the country. His work with transparencies, lines, color and visual coherence has earned him a privileged spot in architecture history for good. He left a huge legacy that includes an innovative approach to space and a strong sense of style and identity, as well as a deep understanding of the works’ context and surroundings. Let’s take a look at five of his most iconic works.
Casa Estudio Luis Barragán
The construction of the architect’s house and studio started in 1947 and was finished just a year later. In the heart of Mexico City, this house is now a key stop for any visitor interested in architecture. Yellow, blue and pink are the main tones used throughout the building, all of them orchestrated in a meticulous way that truly takes the visitors’ senses to unexpected places.
This house is entirely built in relation to its garden. It’s fascinating to see it before going to Casa Barragán in order to imagine the architect’s evolution and journey. The most important difference between these two buildings is the use of color, which radically changed in a pretty short period of time.
Cuadra San Cristóbal
This project was commissioned by a fellow member of the French Equestrian Club in Mexico. It merges several aspects of classical ranches with Barragán’s unique vision. It has stables, housing spaces and an enormous fountain that has become one of the most famous symbols of the architect’s trajectory. This project expresses a dialogue between water and color that only Barragán could have created.
Torres de Satélite
These towers are a Mexican urban icon which has been featured in several occasions in cinema and television and photographed by numerous artists. It was a collaboration between Barragán and Mathias Goeritz, and it was commissioned by Mario Pani as part of a huge residential project that he directed. These towers’ purpose was to become a point of reference, and to be fully identifiable from a distance.
This love letter to Mexican culture and folklore was Barragán’s last project. Set near Casa Barragán, Casa Gilardi gathers Barragan’s ideas of architecture, Modernism, colors, textures and culture. For a trained eye, the nods to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo will be pretty clear. Nowadays, the building hosts cultural events and exhibitions, remaining a living space where Barragán’s spirit prevails.
Luis Barragán was not only an architect, but also a brilliant thinker who praised loneliness and silence, which becomes clear by looking at his work. His ideas have influenced architects from all over the world and will certainly continue to do so. Meanwhile, we can enjoy visiting his works and getting to know a little bit more about Mexican and Latin American unique takes on Modernism. YOU MUST READ Color within Architecture: Much more than Aesthetics
- Casa Luis Barragán, http://www.casaluisbarragan.org/eng/en_index.html
- Barragán Foundation, https://www.barragan-foundation.org/
- Emilio Ambasz, The architecture of Luis Barragán, MoMA https://www.moma.org/documents/moma_catalogue_2461_300298680.pdf