Luís Barragán’s House and Studio (World Heritage)

According to homosociety, the house and studio of the Mexican architect Luís Barragán (1902–1988) built in Mexico City in 1947 represents the work of Barragán, who strived for a synthesis of modern architecture and traditional art and exerted a great influence on the architecture of the 20th century. Typical are the seclusion from the outside, the opening to the inner courtyard and a strong color scheme.

Luís Barragán’s house and studio: facts

Official title: Luís Barragán’s house and studio
Cultural monument: House and studio of the engineer and self-taught architect Luis Barragán in Mexico City; sculptural architecture sensitively embedded in its surroundings, built in 1947; Total area of ​​1,161 m²; three floors, garden
Continent: America
Country: Mexico
Location: Mexico City, suburb of Tacubaya
Appointment: 2004
Meaning: Masterpiece of modern architecture with a harmonious combination of modern and traditional influences

Luís Barragán’s house and studio: history

1902-1988 Luis Barragán, architect
1931 Trip to Paris and meeting with the architect Le Corbusier
1935 Moved from Guadalajara to Mexico
1945-1952 Planning by Pedregal San Angel
1947 Casa Luis Barragán in Tacubaya (Mexico)
1958-1968 Designs for farmsteads and equestrian facilities such as Las Arboledas (1958–1961) and Los Clubes (1967–1968)
1976 Francisco Gilardi House (Mexico, Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec)
1977 Exhibitions of Barragán’s work in the Museum of Modern Art (New York)
1980 Pritzker Prize for Architecture for Barragán
2002 For Barragán’s 100th birthday, the Mexican postal authority issued a stamp with the motif “House Barragán”

Right angle and colorful poetry – Barragán’s home and studio in Mexico City

Throughout his life, Luis Barragán argued violently against the “glass cages” of his North American architect colleagues: “(…) Architects around the world have lost the sense of proportions by providing rooms for their buildings that open outwards. Indeed, some houses resemble simple glass boxes. The use of glass in the construction of sports club facilities is acceptable: It enables us to see what is going on outside, but our private life should not take place in such publicly visible spaces. «So it is no wonder that Barragán’s private houses are almost hermetically sealed from the public space are. Barragán was not only attracted to the modern architecture, but also to that of the monasteries with their cloisters as a place of contemplation and tranquility. The knowledge of the colonial architectural style of those cities that had been planned on the drawing board in the New World and whose houses are grouped around an inner courtyard was just as influential. Here, as in Barragán’s own house and studio building, every living space faces the inner courtyard in the middle.

Barragán’s preference for bright yellow, for magenta and pink, for white and a deep blue is no coincidence; Its reveal is painted with frescoed bands in which magenta and turquoise blue are the predominant colors. Barragán also studied the interplay of light and darkness in the deep arcades of the cloister – an element that he skilfully took up in the lighting in the private houses he designed.

The outstanding importance of a secluded garden and an inner courtyard arose for the Mexican builder especially after his visit to the Generalife in Granada. Barragán not only remembered the scent of the roses, but also the bright yellow of the lemon trees and the calming splashing of the fountains. And after his return from Europe he also integrated these natural elements into his architecture. The structure of the Pritzker Prize winner’s studio house takes to heart the contrast between the private and the public, as the largely windowless outer walls close off the house from the outside. At the same time, like the Barragán-Ortega house, it fits seamlessly into the modest residential area. All that is noticeable is a protruding window frame.

The architecture is entirely oriented towards the garden and patio, which only reveal a view of the sky. Disturbances in the outside world should – similar to a cloister – remain locked out; the house is to serve exclusively the “inner collection”. The center of the studio building is a high living room with a library. Low partition walls, screens and partitions subdivide individual rooms and create “nooks and crannies”: for example, partition walls between living room and library create a room that can accommodate a small desk. A reading corner is created by unfolding a screen and a library partition. The stairs “floating in the room” that lead to the mezzanine and upper floor have no banisters, as is the case in the hallway, which only has a chair and a telephone, and in the library.

Barragán sings a hymn to color and light. The Bauhaus masters Johannes Itten and Josef Albers were the godfathers, who worked intensively on the effect of colored surfaces. A pink door can be found in the inner courtyard of the studio building, as is a wall painted pink, overgrown with green. Not only the walls of the passage to the bedroom glow lemon yellow, but also the floor of the library. In addition to the color scheme, light also plays an important role in Barragán’s work: the studio is illuminated by direct and indirect incidence of light from the side, shutters installed inside the bedroom also allow the light to be attenuated, as do the tinted windows in the entrance area.

Luís Barragán's House and Studio