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Luis Barragan

Spotlight: Luis Barragán

10:30 - 9 March, 2018
Spotlight: Luis Barragán, Casa Gilardi. Imagevia <a href=''>Wikimedia user Ulises00</a> (public domain)
Casa Gilardi. Imagevia Wikimedia user Ulises00 (public domain)

One of Mexico's greatest architects, Luis Ramiro Barragán Morfín (March 9, 1902 – November 22, 1988) revolutionized modern architecture in the country with his use of bright colors reminiscent of the traditional architecture of Mexico, and with works such as his Casa Barragán, the Chapel of the Capuchinas, the Torres de Satélite, "Los Clubes" (Cuadra San Cristobal and Fuente de los Amantes), and the Casa Gilardi, among many others.

Who Has Won the Pritzker Prize?

08:00 - 25 February, 2018
Who Has Won the Pritzker Prize?, Pritzker Prize 2017 Ceremony: Ryue Nishizawa, Tadao Ando, Kazuyo Sejima, Rafael Aranda, Glenn Murcutt, Carme Pigem, Ramon Vilalta, Toyo Ito, Shigeru Ban. Image © The Hyatt Foundation / Pritzker Architecture Prize
Pritzker Prize 2017 Ceremony: Ryue Nishizawa, Tadao Ando, Kazuyo Sejima, Rafael Aranda, Glenn Murcutt, Carme Pigem, Ramon Vilalta, Toyo Ito, Shigeru Ban. Image © The Hyatt Foundation / Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).

The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.

8 Architects Whose Names Became Architectural Styles

09:30 - 26 January, 2018
8 Architects Whose Names Became Architectural Styles, Sagrada Familia Ceiling Detail. Image © <a href=''>Flickr user SBA73</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
Sagrada Familia Ceiling Detail. Image © Flickr user SBA73 licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Throughout history, there have been certain architects whose unique ideas and innovative styles have influenced generations to come. Some of these pioneers introduced ideas so revolutionary that entirely new words had to be invented to truly encapsulate them. Whether they became a style embraced by an entire era, or captured the imagination of millions for decades to come, we know a Gaudiesque or Corbusian building when we see one.

Here are eight adjectives derived from the works of architects whose names are now in the dictionary:

Ronchamp by Le Corbusier. Image via <a href=''>Maxpixel</a> Farnsworth House by Mies Van Der Rohe. Image © Jack E. Boucher <a href=''>via the Library of Congress</a> (public domain) Fuente de los Amantes by Luis Barragan. Image © <a href=''>Flickr user esparta</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY 2.0</a> Trinity Church, Boston by Henry Hobson Richardson. Image © Carol M. Highsmith <a href=''>via the Library of Congress</a> (public domain) + 9

7 Architects Who Weren't Afraid to Use Color

09:30 - 10 October, 2017
La Muralla Roja. Image © Gregori Civera
La Muralla Roja. Image © Gregori Civera

Some architects love color, some are unmoved by it, some hate it, and some love to dismiss it as too whimsical or non-serious for architecture. In an essay on the subject, Timothy Brittain-Catlin mentions the “innate puritanism among clients of architecture,” architects and their “embarrassment of confronting color,” and how “Modernism tried to ‘educate out’ bright colors.” So, while the debate on color in architecture is far from being a new one, it is not finished, and probably never will be. 

In today’s world where the exhausted stereotype of the no-nonsense architect clad in black still persists, and while we quietly mull over the strange pull of the Cosmic Latte, there are some architects who haven’t been afraid of using broad swathes of color in their work at all. Read on for a list of 7 such exemplary architects both from the past and the present.

Interior of Casa Gilardi. Image © <a href=''> Wikimedia user Ulises00</a> licensed under <a href=''>Public Domain</a> Casa Batlló. Image © <a href=''>Wikimedia user M.Stallbaum</a> licensed under <a href=''>Public Domain</a> St. Coletta School / Michael Graves. Image Courtesy of Michael Graves Café l'Aubette. Image © <a href=''>Wikimedia user Claude Truong-Ngoc</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> + 20

7 Abandoned and Deteriorating Latin American Architectural Classics

08:00 - 11 July, 2017
7 Abandoned and Deteriorating Latin American Architectural Classics, © Luiz Seo
© Luiz Seo

How many lives does a great work of architecture have? The first begins when it is built and inhabited, judged based on the quality of life it provides for its residents. The second comes generations later when it becomes historically significant and perhaps its original function no longer suits the demands of society. The value of such buildings is that they inform us about the past and for that reason their conservation is necessary.

However, in Latin America, there are countless cases of buildings of great architectural value that are in tragic states of neglect and deterioration. Seven such examples are:

Are Luis Barragán's Ashes More Important Than His Life's Work?

06:00 - 10 July, 2017
Are Luis Barragán's Ashes More Important Than His Life's Work?, Una pieza de la exposición. Image Cortesía de Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo
Una pieza de la exposición. Image Cortesía de Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo

In a somewhat poetic proposal, Jill Magid, the American artist, offered Federica Zano, owner and archivist of the Barragan Foundation in Switzerland, a two-carat diamond ring made from ashes from Barragan’s cremation, in exchange for returning Barragan’s professional archive to Mexico.

This gesture was the pinnacle of an art project that “posed fundamental questions about the consequences and implications of converting cultural legacy into private corporate property.” Magid’s work, titled “A Letter Always Arrives at its Destination,” held an exhibition at the University Museum of Contemporary Art at the UNAM.

9 Incredibly Famous Architects Who Didn't Possess an Architecture Degree

09:30 - 19 June, 2017

Had the worst jury ever? Failed your exams? Worry not! Before you fall on your bed and cry yourself to sleep—after posting a cute, frantic-looking selfie on Instagram, of course (hashtag so dead)—take a look at this list of nine celebrated architects, all of whom share a common trait. You might think that a shiny architecture degree is a requirement to be a successful architect; why else would you put yourself through so many years of architecture school? Well, while the title of "architect" may be protected in many countries, that doesn't mean you can't design amazing architecture—as demonstrated by these nine architects, who threw convention to the wind and took the road less traveled to architectural fame.

How to Pronounce the Names of 22 Notable Architects

09:30 - 17 April, 2017
How to Pronounce the Names of 22 Notable Architects

There’s no doubt that one of the best things about architecture is its universality. Wherever you come from, whatever you do, however you speak, architecture has somehow touched your life. However, when one unexpectedly has to pronounce a foreign architect’s name... things can get a little tricky. This is especially the case when mispronunciation could end up making you look less knowledgeable than you really are. (If you're really unlucky, it could end up making you look stupid in front of your children and the whole world.)

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 22 architects with names that are a little difficult to pronounce, and paired them with a recording in which their names are said impeccably. Listen and repeat as many times as it takes to get it right, and you’ll be prepared for any intellectual architectural conversation that comes your way. 

6 Unique Long Weekend Travel Ideas for Architects

09:30 - 27 February, 2017
6 Unique Long Weekend Travel Ideas for Architects

The "architectural pilgrimage" is much more than just everyday tourism. Studying and admiring a building through text and images often creates a hunger in architects, thanks to the space between the limitations of 2D representation and the true experience of the building. Seeing a building in person that one has long loved from a distance can become something of a spiritual experience, and architects often plan vacations around favorite or important spaces. But too often, architects become transfixed by a need to visit the same dozen European cities that have come to make up the traveling architect's bucket list.

The list here shares some sites that may not have made your list just yet. Although somewhat less well known than the canonical cities, the architecture of these six cities is sure to hold its ground against the world's best. The locations here make ideal long weekend trips (depending of course on where you are traveling from), although it never hurts to have more than a few days to really become immersed in a city. We have selected a few must-see buildings from each location, but each has even more to offer than what you see here—so don't be afraid to explore!

10 Fashion Collections Inspired by Mexican Architect Luis Barragán

07:00 - 26 October, 2016

Wall thickness, color, scale, solar dynamic, spaces built with a subtle metaphor immersed around the meaning of life, seem to be elements found throughout all of Luis Barragán's architecture. Elements of an enduring legacy, away from the ephemeral world of fashion, textiles and haute couture; however, it’s the search for the heightening of the senses, present in the architecture of Barragán, that inspired designers to put the name of the architect on catwalks and the world of apparel. 

Transcending his architecture to a particular line of design, major names in the clothing industry have used the mystical language of Barragán. A language in which fashion manages to live a furtive beauty in geometry, color, texture, but especially a totally emotional search. 

Check out 10 labels whose collections have been partially inspired by Barragán's work and ideas .

The Strange Habits of Top Architects

07:00 - 10 October, 2016

Well-known architects are easy to admire or dismiss from afar, but up close, oddly humanizing habits often come to light. However, while we all have our quirks, most people's humanizing habits don't give an insight into how they became one of the most notable figures in their field of work. The following habits of several top architects reveal parts of their creative process, how they relax, or simply parts of their identity. Some are inspiring and some are surprising, but all give a small insight into the mental qualities that are required to be reach the peak of the architectural profession—from an exceptional work drive to an embrace of eccentricity (and a few more interesting qualities besides).

In Residence: Inside Casa Gilardi, Luis Barragán's Final House Design

12:30 - 3 October, 2016

I want you to let me do all the ideas I still have in my head.

In the latest installment of the In Residence series, NOWNESS visits the last house designed by legendary Mexican architect Luis Barragán, Casa Gilardi. By the time current homeowner Martin Luque and advertising agency partner Pancho Gilardi approached Barragán to ask for a house design in 1975, the architect had already formally retired. He originally declined to take on the project – until he made a visit the site, where he was captivated by a remarkably beautiful jacaranda tree. Changing his mind, Barragán remarked, “Don’t chop down this tree, because the house will be built around it.”

Check out the video to learn the rest of the story behind the masterwork and to see the vibrant house as it stands today.

Jill Magid: The Proposal

14:43 - 11 August, 2016
Jill Magid: The Proposal, Jill Magid, The Proposal, 2016. Photo credit: Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Stefan Jaeggi. Courtesy the artist, LABOR, Mexico City; RaebervonStenglin, Zurich; Untilthen, Paris.
Jill Magid, The Proposal, 2016. Photo credit: Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Stefan Jaeggi. Courtesy the artist, LABOR, Mexico City; RaebervonStenglin, Zurich; Untilthen, Paris.

The Proposal presents the climactic moment within artist Jill Magid's extended, multimedia project The Barragán Archives, which examines the legacy of Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winner Luis Barragán (1902–1988). The multi-year project poses piercing, radical, and pragmatic questions about the forms of power, public access, and copyright that construct artistic legacy.

Through this work, Magid asks, “What happens to an artist’s legacy when it is owned by a corporation and subject to a country’s laws where none of his architecture exists? Who can access it? Who can’t?”

In his will, Barragán split his archive into two parts. Along with the vast majority

The Mexican Moment: The Rise of Architecture's Latest Design Capital

01:00 - 16 December, 2014
The Mexican Moment: The Rise of Architecture's Latest Design Capital, Museo Soumaya / FR-EE. Image © Rafael Gamo
Museo Soumaya / FR-EE. Image © Rafael Gamo

On a recent trip abroad, architect and urban planner José Castillo was struck by a conversation with Mexico’s tourism attaché in Asia. Mexican tourism, the attaché remarked, has changed; it was the ancient pyramids and sandy beaches of the country that once drew visitors to it. Today however, architecture and design—and food—prevail.

The issue of food may be of little wonder. Mexican cuisine has indeed become more popular than ever in both the high and low ends of the culinary spectrum, and food in general is not only what one eats for dinner but also a hobby and an obsessive conversation topic. Yet for local design to come to the same level of acclaim and reputation is, at any rate, quite astonishing. It may be, though, that food and architecture are not so far apart. These are both highly creative and productive professions, as well as ones with a rich history, a theory, and many layers of tradition.

La Tallera / Frida Escobedo. Image © Rafael Gamo Zeller & Moye and FR-EE's "Archivo". Image Courtesy of Zeller & Moye Foster + Partners and FR-EE's design for the new Mexico City Airport. Image Courtesy of DBOX for Foster + Partners PRODUCTORA's Auditorio Cuernavaca, with the Teopanzolco Pyramid in the background. Image Courtesy of PRODUCTORA + 9

Mexico & Swizterland in Tug-of-War Over Luis Barragán Archive

00:00 - 6 November, 2013
Mexico & Swizterland in Tug-of-War Over Luis Barragán Archive, Gilardi House. Image © Flickr user, Elena_mch
Gilardi House. Image © Flickr user, Elena_mch

Mexico, Switzerland and their constituent art collectors are in a tug-of-war over the coveted professional archive of late, famed hero Luis Barragán - considered one of Mexico's greatest architects. After his death, the heads of the Swiss furniture company, Vitra, bought a collection of Barragán's personal designs and images, leaving those in Mexico puzzled as to why the archive ever left the country from which his work is rooted. "It would be as if the ‘rights’ for Frank Lloyd Wright or Louis Kahn were held and managed from another country, ruling over their work and limiting access to the American public." Read the full article here, "Tug of War Stretches Architect’s Legacy".

Video: Luis Barragán

15:00 - 23 June, 2012

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Luis Barragán was a formally trained engineer and self-trained architect. He is known for his emphasis on color, light, shadow, form and texture. In 1980 he received the profession’s highest honor – the Pritzker Prize. This video gives a brief overview of the prominent Mexican architect and his work.