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  5. Luis Barragan
  6. 1948
  7. AD Classics: Casa Barragan / Luis Barragan

AD Classics: Casa Barragan / Luis Barragan

AD Classics: Casa Barragan / Luis Barragan
AD Classics: Casa Barragan / Luis Barragan, © Casa Luis Barragan
© Casa Luis Barragan

© Casa Luis Barragan © Rene Burri © Casa Luis Barragan © Casa Luis Barragan +46

From the architect. Widely recognized for his emphasis on color, light, shadow, form and texture, it can only be expected that the former residence of Pritzker Prize winner Luis Barragan encompasses all of his trademarks. On its street in Mexico City, the stark facade of the house humbly blends in with its neighbors, giving no hints to the personality of it's interior.

© Steve Silverman
© Steve Silverman

The most prominent aspects of the design of Casa Barragan are the use of flat planes and light, both natural and artificial. The skylights and windows allow for visual tracking of light throughout the day; the floods of natural light and views of nature are the key purposes of the windows. Opening up into the garden, the back of the house creates a visible and physical relationship between the lower level and the backyard. Barragan often called himself a landscape architect because he placed as much emphasis on the exterior and surroundings of a building as he did on the interior.

© Casa Luis Barragan
© Casa Luis Barragan

Upon entering, the visitor walks down a dark hallway until they suddenly encounter a pink wall, the first engagement with the known style of Barragan. The only function of this main room is to use the telephone, but it is still characteristically lit and decorated with simply a chair and a table, neither of which have changed location in the last 50 years. The double height space of the main room is separated only by lower partition walls, which separate the space into different areas. On the roof, a window is accentuated by the use of wooden girders.

© Casa Luis Barragan
© Casa Luis Barragan

The play of privacy and visibility are seen throughout the front and back halves of the house. Towards the front, high windows are used to let light in but maintain privacy, whereas large windows open up the back to the garden. Since the back of the house opens up to private space as opposed to the public street at the front of the house, Barragan is able to manipulate the windows accordingly.

© Casa Luis Barragan
© Casa Luis Barragan

Barragan had a fascination with animals, particularly horses, so many relics of popular culture and symbols are found throughout the house. Crosses can also be found in multiple rooms, which, coupled with the bold colors used by Barragan, create a mythical and spiritual architecture. He found many of his furnishings at craft markets and antique shops, all true to the cultural identity of Mexico. This cultural flare is also apparent in the bold pink, yellow and lilac colors chosen by the architect. The minimalist style gives reason to the significance of detail, every aspect of the house has it's purpose and is obviously planned by the architect.

© Casa Luis Barragan
© Casa Luis Barragan

The purist of stairs lead visitors through the other stories of the house, towards private bedroom and studio spaces. The colors and simplistic designs are carried out throughout each level, even out onto the terraces and roof. Barragan discovers a poetry in architecture, straying from the standard and conventional line and creating a unique style that distinguishes who he is as a person and architect. He fuses his personal experiences, dreams and memories into a physical experience that is shared throughout cultures and ages.

© Rene Burri
© Rene Burri

Luis Barragan accepted the Pritzker Prize in 1980. Upon his death in 1988, Casa Barragan became a museum to be enjoyed by the public. The house became one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites in 2004.

© Casa Luis Barragan
© Casa Luis Barragan
Cite: Megan Sveiven. "AD Classics: Casa Barragan / Luis Barragan" 10 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/102599/ad-classics-casa-barragan-luis-barragan/>
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48 Comments

Emily · January 14, 2016

anyone have any idea what scale those plans are in?

Wyat · December 15, 2014

I am in total love with this architect. In researching Ando I came across Barragan and I'm glad I did. The idea of modernism is always up in there, however more often than not we can limit it to a set of aesthetic standards all derived from particular reactions to history. Maybe in that sense; that's modernism, aesthetic reactions to particular instances in history. Here we find Barragan taking the idea of the "machine for living", and tossing it aside to tune into the "emotion of architecture". Something which is more primitive and tranquil. While using the basic geometric, clean lines, open spaces of the modernist movement. Barragan also takes hold of your senses with color, directed views, sounds, textures, and green space to create a mystic journey. A mystic journey away from not only the monotonous aspect of the city life of Mexico City, but perhaps the monotonous aspect of the life of modernism and international style.

M. Becerril · December 09, 2014

Casa Barragan is a modern building that implies more than
merely form. Its modernity comes from a context of an after revolution
environment. The lack of ornament not only identifies the building as modern but also as a complete denial of any European influence which was related to the overthrown government of Porfirio Diaz. Furthermore, the use of lights and shadows, the colors and monumentality are aspects that reference pre-Hispanic architecture.All these aspects as well as the conscious functionality that Barragan applied to his house and studio make the building an outstanding representation of national
functionalist architecture.

Timothy Goheen · November 21, 2013

The Casa Barragan really made me think about what constitutes Modern architecture and with study resulted in abandoning my preconceived notion about Modernism as an Architectural style. Rather, Modernism is a way thinking or a set of principles that when grasped by an Architect or embraced in a region of the world gives a variety of styles. The regional Modernity is intimately tied to the cultures reason for seeking modern design and the Architects position relative to the culture. Luis Barragan embraced Mexican culture and in the Casa Barragan shows how the same tenets that were used for creating an International Style that attempted to be free from politics, and tried to cross cultural bounds, is able to be adhered to and be read as nationalistic.

Pepe Velazquez B. · August 30, 2011

Casa Barragan en Cd. de México / Luis Barragan #arquitectura #arquitecturaimpecable
http://t.co/5cet0m9

Horacio Merediz · August 30, 2011

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Javier Langarita · January 18, 2011
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the citylab · January 12, 2011

ArchDaily: Casa Barragan.

The dining area alone makes this project for me.

http://t.co/0fEPUUv http://t.co/DNlnRtZ

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ilaria defilippo · January 11, 2011

Casa Barragan by Luis Barragan, Tacubaya Mexico 1948 - http://bit.ly/gMpawE #architecture #Mexico #Barragan #1948 #interiors #Unesco

arquitectura UBP · January 11, 2011

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Marcelo Orihuela · January 11, 2011

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Edgar · January 11, 2011

Last picture is not from Casa Barragán. Its the pool area from Casa Giraldi. Both MASTERPIECES by this great architect.

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