Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes Steve Silverman
Casa Gilardi by Luis Barragán | © ArchEyes

In the heart of Mexico City, Casa Gilardi was designed by Luis Barragán, one of Mexico’s most acclaimed architects. Built between 1975 and 1977, this project represents Barragán’s last masterpiece, embodying his unique integration of modernism with the essence of Mexican tradition. Casa Gilardi is a powerful expression of Barragán’s approach to architecture, showcasing a masterful interplay of light, color, and form that remains both captivating and inspirational.

Casa Gilardi Technical Information

I have always believed that the ‘magic’ of certain places is inseparable from their silence, their tranquility, and their mystery.

– Luis Barragan 2

Casa Gilardi Photographs

Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes
Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes
Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes INGBERG IMAGE ARCHIVE
Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes melisa orozco
© Flick User: Melisa Orozco
Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes washingtonydc
© Flick User: Washingtonydc
Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes mauricio vieto
© Flick User: Mauricio Vieto
Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes Felix van de Gein
© Flick User: Felix van de Gein
Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes
Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes

The Genesis of Casa Gilardi

Casa Gilardi emerged from the vision of advertising executive Francisco Gilardi, who sought to construct a home that would reflect his lifestyle and personal aspirations. Located south of Bosque de Chapultepec park and near Barragán’s own residence, the plot chosen for the project was in a densely populated area, presenting a unique challenge for the architect. After a decade of professional inactivity, the then 80-year-old Barragán accepted the challenge, setting the stage for the creation of this architectural gem.

Architectural Composition

The design of Casa Gilardi is a response to its urban context and the specific requests of its owner. The house is notable for its introverted layout, which prioritizes internal spaces and the central courtyard around an existing jacaranda tree. This spatial arrangement is a hallmark of Barragán’s approach, emphasizing privacy, introspection, and the seamless integration of nature within the built environment.

The house’s structure is divided into two main volumes connected by a corridor, framing the courtyard and the jacaranda tree. The front volume houses the service areas and bedrooms, while the rear volume contains the living room, dining area, and the indoor swimming pool—a key feature requested by Gilardi for his daily use and social gatherings.

A Canvas of Light and Color

Barragán’s use of color in Casa Gilardi is both strategic and symbolic, drawing inspiration from Mexican culture and the work of artists like Chucho Reyes. The vibrant colors—ranging from the bright pink façades to the magenta of a free wall element—create a dynamic interplay with natural light, changing the perception of spaces throughout the day. The architect’s meticulous attention to color is evident in his detailed planning and experimentation, resulting in a palette that enhances the architectural form and sensory experience of the house.

The integration of light is equally significant, with Barragán employing it as a sculptural element. Strategic openings and skylights channel light into the interior, highlighting textures, enhancing colors, and creating dramatic contrasts. The play of light and shadow is a critical aspect of the house’s aesthetic, contributing to its spiritual and contemplative atmosphere.

The Heart of the House: The Swimming Pool Area

Perhaps the most striking feature of Casa Gilardi is the swimming pool area, which serves as the home’s focal point. This space, originally intended as a functional area, was transformed into a complex interplay of water, light, and color through Barragán’s design process. The dining room’s adjacency to the pool, a result of Gilardi’s input, blurs the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces, creating a unique setting for socializing and relaxation. The area is characterized by its color transitions, reflections, and the strategic use of skylights, emphasizing the architect’s skill in creating emotionally resonant spaces.

Legacy and Influence

Casa Gilardi stands as a testament to Luis Barragán’s enduring influence on architecture. Its design principles, emphasizing the harmonious integration of architecture with nature, light, and color, continue to inspire architects worldwide. The house not only represents the culmination of Barragán’s architectural philosophy but also serves as a vibrant example of how buildings can evoke emotion and transcend their physical boundaries.

Casa Gilardi Plans

Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes plans
Floor Plan | © Luis Barragan
Casa Gilardi Mexico City Luis Barragan ArchEyes plans
Elevation and Sections | © Luis Barragan

Casa Gilardi Image Gallery

About Luis Barragan

Luis Barragán (1902-1988) was a pioneering Mexican architect and engineer whose work has profoundly influenced the international discourse on modern architecture. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Barragán’s architectural philosophy was deeply rooted in a blend of modernist principles and the rich vernacular traditions of Mexico, creating a unique style characterized by vibrant colors, play of light and shadow, and serene spaces that foster contemplation and spiritual tranquility. After studying engineering in his hometown and architecture in Europe, where he was influenced by the Mediterranean landscape and the works of Le Corbusier and Ferdinand Bac, Barragán returned to Mexico to develop a body of work that included private homes, public buildings, and masterful garden designs. He was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1980, becoming the first Mexican architect to receive this prestigious accolade. Barragán’s legacy endures through his timeless buildings and his profound impact on architectural theory and practice, celebrated for their emotional and poetic connection to the landscape and Mexican cultural heritage.

Notes & Additional Credits
  1. Luis Barragán: His House by by Daniel Garza Usabiaga, Juan Palomar, Alfonso Alfaro, Luis Barragàn
  2. Luis Barragán: The Complete Works by Raúl Rispa
  3. Barragan: Space and Shadow, Walls and Colour by Daniele Pauly