Casa Luis Barragan
There seems to be a lot of buzz around Mexico City these days. And with good reason, seeing as it’s the most populous city in North America with over 22,000,000 people, and nearly all major US airports offer direct flights, including a less than 4-hour direct flight from Denver. Additional reasons might be justified by the city’s reputation as a hub for vibrant art and culture, architecture, and of course, it’s food and endless list of notable restaurants.
If you have yet to visit Mexico City, we’d suggest you place this mega-city at the top of your list. And while we could share several highly recommended must-see and do’s, there’s one we’d like to highlight here and that’s a tour of Casa Luis Barragán, the private residence and studio of modernist architect, Luis Barragán.
Barragán is the most acclaimed Mexican architect of all time, and the only Mexican architect to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize. The building was constructed in 1948 and has been respectfully preserved in the condition Barragán left it in, since his passing in 1988. The building, in what is now the Miguel Hidalgo district of Mexico City, has long been a mecca for architects and design aficionados from around the world.
Barragán’s works are most recognizable for blending the simplicity of his modernistic, color-blocked structures with the plants, terrain, and natural light of his native country. And while all great architects share in their sensitivity towards light, Barragan was a master of creating atmospheres with the use of color-tinted glass, or the reflective light that blankets a space as it bounces off a nearby wall painted in a colorful hue, or a reflective work of art. It’s this richness in the atmosphere and spatial quality that leaves a lasting mark on all who visit Casa Luis Barragán.
To summarize Barragan’s perspective towards the significance of his body of work, we’ll quote an excerpt from his Pritzker Architecture Prize Acceptance Speech (1980),
“I take this occasion to present some impressions and recollections that, to some extent, sum up the ideology behind my work. In this regard, Mr. Jay Pritzker stated in an announcement to the press with excessive generosity what I consider essential to that ideology: that I have been chosen as the recipient of this prize for having devoted myself to architecture “as a sublime act of poetic imagination”. Consequently, I am only a symbol for all those who have been touched by Beauty.”
He continues, “It is alarming that publications devoted to architecture have banished from their pages the words Beauty, Inspiration, Magic, Spellbound, Enchantment, as well as the concepts of Serenity, Silence, Intimacy, and Amazement. All these have nestled in my soul, and though I am fully aware that I have not done them complete justice in my work, they have never ceased to be my guiding light.”
You can read his acceptance speech in its entirety by clicking here.
Photo Cred: Brandon Lopez