Casa Pedregal, also known as Casa Prieto-López, is a mesmerizing residential project situated in the then lava-covered region of Jardines del Pedregal in Mexico City. Designed by Mexican architect Luis Barragán in 1947, the house showcases a harmonious blend of modernist design with traditional Mexican aesthetics. In this article, we will delve into the unique design elements, spatial experience, and the integration of natural surroundings in Casa Pedregal.
Casa Pedregal Technical Information
- Architects1-2: Luis Barragan
- Location: Jardines del Pedregal, Mexico City, Mexico
- Original Project name: Casa Prieto López
- Topics: Mexican Houses
- Area: 1,117 m2 | 12,023 ft2
- Project Year: 1947 – 1950
- Photographs: © Onnis Luque
In the creation of a garden, the architect invites the partnership of the Kingdom of Nature. In a beautiful garden, the marvels of nature and the genius of man are happily married
– Luis Barragan3
Casa Pederegal Photographs
The Dialogue Between Nature and Built Form
Casa Pedregal is renowned for its distinctive integration of natural rock formations with geometrically precise architectural elements. The house’s floor plan was designed to embrace the existing volcanic rock on the site, allowing the structure to meld seamlessly with the landscape.
The use of simple geometric forms juxtaposed against the rugged natural rocks creates a dynamic spatial experience, giving a sense of continuity between the indoors and the outdoors. The walls are characterized by their unadorned texture and a color palette inspired by Mexican tradition, enhancing the visual appeal of the design.
Luis Barragán’s mastery of manipulating light is evident throughout Casa Pedregal. The carefully placed windows and openings create a play of light and shadow, illuminating the interiors in a subtle and nuanced manner. The changing quality of light throughout the day adds to the building’s dynamic character, emphasizing different architectural elements.
This interplay between light and shadow contributes to a meditative and contemplative ambiance, allowing the inhabitants to feel connected to nature and the changing cycles of the day.
Landscape Integration: Merging the Organic with the Constructed
The site’s pre-existing volcanic rock formations were not seen as obstacles but rather an opportunity to integrate nature into the design. Barragán’s approach towards landscape design is organic, treating the natural elements as an integral part of the architecture.
The gardens surrounding Casa Pedregal are meticulously crafted, embracing native vegetation and providing a serene outdoor experience. Water features and pathways are interwoven with the architecture, further blurring the lines between the built environment and the natural landscape.
An Icon of Modern Mexican Architecture
Casa Pedregal’s unique design transcended mere aesthetics; it became a symbol of Mexican identity and architectural modernity. Luis Barragán’s innovative use of space, color, and light embodied a new wave of architecture that fused international modernism with Mexican tradition.
The recent restoration of Casa Prieto López carried out between 2014 and 2016, highlights the timelessness of Barragán’s vision. Led by Jorge Covarrubias of Parque Humano, the restoration emphasized the original integrity of the design while adapting it to modern needs.
With an area of 5,000 m2, the restoration project was an intricate endeavor that respected the initial architectural language. The process involved meticulous attention to detail and a profound understanding of Barragán’s architectural philosophy.
Casa Pederegal Plans
Casa Pederegal Image Gallery
About Luis Barragan
Luis Barragán (1902-1988) was a renowned Mexican architect and engineer celebrated for his fusion of modernism with traditional Mexican aesthetics. His designs were characterized by innovative use of color, light, and form, along with a profound connection to nature, as exemplified by Casa Gilardi. Barragán’s work often evoked a sense of serenity and contemplation, reflecting his minimalist yet emotionally resonant approach. Awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1980, his influence continues to be felt in contemporary architecture, and his home and studio in Mexico City have been honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. His legacy remains a significant inspiration in the field, epitomizing the poetic and human-centric possibilities of architectural design.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Restoration Architect: Jorge Covarrubias | Parque Humano
- Restoration Years: 2014 – 2016
- The quote reflects Barragán’s profound respect for nature and his desire to incorporate it into his architectural designs. In the case of Casa Pedregal, his dedication to this philosophy can be seen in the harmonious integration of the building with its natural volcanic surroundings.