Learning from Ricardo: an unpublished recent talk with Ricardo and Victor Legorreta by Carlo Ezechieli
In memory of Ricardo Legorreta (May 7, 1931 – December 30, 2011), Carlo Ezechieli (Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Architecture Politecnico di Milano, Principal of CE-A Architects) has shared with us his story of discovering Ricardo Legorreta’s work and his recent interview with Ricardo and his son, Victor Legorreta.
The first time I came in contact with Ricardo Legorreta’s work, was back in 1998. Of course I was familiar with his name, particularly due to Kenneth Frampton’s “Critical Regionalism” writings, but I actually did not know much about his architecture. One day I happened to visit the Camino Real Hotel in Mexico D.F. which, according to my hosts, it was something that had to be seen, although none of us was really knew what architect had designed it. I was totally amazed. The entrance, an extraordinary space, was filled up by the sound and movement of an unconventional fountain that resembled the ocean waves. The interior was a huge, astounding introverted and essential translation of Pre-Hispanic monumental spaces. I was surprised to learn, later on, that this very contemporary building dated back to 1968 and was completed when Legorreta was not even 40.
I did not have many chances to meet Ricardo privately, nevertheless I believe that the few meetings we had, were sufficient to learn something really important from him in terms of ethics, approach to work and, eventually, attitude towards life in general. Ricardo Legorreta was the author of incredible works and was a great innovator exactly because he was able to move and orient himself, with complete freedom, within the coordinates of a culture and a tradition that he knew deeply and to which he felt he belonged totally. He did this always avoiding “architect’s” bizarre and unneeded brain-waves and remembering “not to take oneself too seriously”. A set of values, too often forgotten, that emerge from his narration in this interview and which finds full continuity in his son Victor. His death, last December 30, leaves a deep sense of sorrow and loss.
Continue reading for Ezechieli’s exclusive interview with Ricardo and Victor Legorreta.
Created in 1988 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japan Art Association and to honor the late Prince Takamatsu, the Praemium Imperiale awards recognize lifetime achievement in the arts in categories not covered by the Nobel Prizes.
A complete list of the 2011 Praemium Imperiale Laureates can be found after the break.
Architects: LEGORRETA + LEGORRETA
Location: Puebla, México
Client: Plus Arrendamientos
Associate Architect: Serrano Monjaraz Arquitectos
Interiors: LEGORRETA + LEGORRETA, SerranoMonjaraz Arquitectos
Structure: García Jarque Ingenieros, SC.
Electrical & Services Consultant: Proyectos de Ingeniería Eléctrica y Sistemas Automatizados S.A. de CV.
Landscape Architects: Espacios Verdes
Contractor: Grupo Huitzilin SA de CV
Kitchen Consultant: DIPREC
Lighting Consultant: Luz y Forma
Graphic Design: CENTRO
Art: Laureana Toledo
Constructed Area: 3000 sqm
Exteriors Area: 711 sqm
Site Area: 1178 sqm
Project year: 2007
Photographs: Undine Pröhl