Andrés Casillas, the renowned Mexican architect, has established himself as a cult figure in Mexico’s architectural scene with his discreet strokes that evoke intimacy and wonder. At 89 years old, he continues to be a prominent representative of contemporary architecture, carrying on a career that spans over six decades. Among his notable works is Casa Brasilia, a project that exemplifies his architectural philosophy and remains relevant to this day.
Casa Brasilia Technical Information
- Architects: Andrés Casillas
- Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
- Topics: Mexican Houses, Color in Architecture
- Photographs: © Tony Carillo, © Martino Stierli
Color is one of the great things in the world that makes life worth living to me and as I have come to think of architecture as a kind of dance, it is not surprising that I use color as one of the players in this dance.
– Luis Barragan1, Andres Casillas mentor
Casa Brasilia Photographs
Architectural Journey & Collaboration with Barragán
Born in Mexico City in 1934, Casillas has deep roots in Guadalajara, where he completed his professional practice. He was one of the early graduates of the School of Architecture at the University of Guadalajara (1952-1955) and the grandson of Guillermo de Alba, an architect known for several historically significant houses and the Chapala railway station in Guadalajara. Casillas shared a close relationship with Luis Barragán, the only Mexican architect to win the Pritzker Prize, which began when Casillas was eight years old and continued throughout their lives.
During a recent conversation with students at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores (ITESO) in Guadalajara, Casillas reminisced about his architectural journey. After graduating from the University of Guadalajara, he decided to further his studies in Germany, where he immersed himself in the teachings of the Bauhaus school. Upon returning to Mexico in the early 1960s, he approached Barragán for an opportunity to work together, and from 1964 to 1968, Casillas collaborated closely with his mentor.
Casillas described their relationship as that of a father and son, emphasizing Barragán’s generosity and commitment to his projects. He absorbed Barragán’s unique approach to space, light, water, and the creation of contemplative environments, which greatly influenced his own architectural perspective.
Designing Casa Brasilia
Since establishing his own studio in 1969, Casillas has undertaken various projects with a focus on residential architecture, public spaces, and offices. Notable works in Guadalajara include the Centro Financiero Banamex (1978) on López Mateos Avenue and several houses such as Brasilia, Blancarte, Azul, and García Vivanco.
Casa Brasilia, in particular, stands as a legend on the streets of Guadalajara. This iconic building altered the course of private architecture in the city. Its design beautifully combines regional materials, contemporary language, and an emphasis on outdoor spaces.
Andrés Casillas de Alba is renowned for his ability to create timeless architectural designs that transcend trends and capture a sense of beauty and serenity. Despite his inclination towards a solitary and discreet approach, his work has garnered recognition throughout his career.
Casillas’ architectural legacy continues to inspire future generations. His humility, learned from his time with Luis Barragán, encourages architects to approach their work with innocence and a focus on meeting the functional needs of spaces. Casa Brasilia stands as a testament to Andrés Casillas’ architectural brilliance and his ability to create a balanced symbiosis between the interior and exterior spaces.
Casa Brasilia Gallery
About Andrés Casillas
Andrés Casillas is a Mexican architect known for his discreet and harmonious approach to architecture. With a career spanning over six decades, Casillas embodies a deep respect for tradition while embracing modernist principles. Influenced by his collaboration with renowned architect Luis Barragán, Casillas creates designs that seamlessly integrate with their surroundings, balancing functionality, aesthetics, and cultural context. His architectural legacy showcases a commitment to timeless beauty, understated elegance, and a profound understanding of spatial dynamics, making him a highly regarded figure in the field of contemporary architecture.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Luis Barragan, 1996 by