The Luis Barragán House and Studio, also referred to as Casa Luis Barragán is a seminal piece of architecture located in Mexico City. The property, which was designed and lived in by the renowned Mexican architect, was completed in 1948 and serves as both a testament to Barragán’s signature style and a museum dedicated to his life’s work. Owned by the Fundación de Arquitectura Tapatía and the Government of the State of Jalisco, the house and studio offer a unique glimpse into Barragán’s creative process and the principles that informed his work.
Luis Barragan House Technical Information
- Architects: Luis Barragan | Biography & Bibliography
- Location: Miguel Hidalgo district, Mexico City, Mexico
- Topics: Color in Architecture, Plastered Concrete, Mexican Houses, Unesco
- Typology: Residential Architecture / House
- Scale: 2 stories
- Project Year: 1948
- Drawings: © Fundación de Arquitectura Tapatía Luis Barragan
- Photographs: © Forgemind ArchiMedia, © Creative Commons
All architecture, which does not express serenity, fails in its spiritual mission. Thus, it has been a mistake to abandon the shelter of walls for the inclemency of large areas of glass.– Luis Barragan1
Luis Barragan House Photographs
Discovering the History of the Luis Barragán Residence
Located in the west of Mexico City, the residence was built in 1948 after World War II. It represents one of the most internationally transcendent works of contemporary architecture and reflects Barragán’s design style during this period.
The house remained his residence until he died in 1988. In 1994 it was converted into a museum, run by Barragán’s home state of Jalisco and the Arquitectura Tapatía Luis Barragán Foundation. In 2004, it was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Luis Barragan House is a master piece in the development of the modern movement that merges traditional and vernacular elements, as well as diverse philosophical and artistic currents throughout time, into a new synthesis.
Text by Fundación de Arquitectura Tapatía Luis Barragán:
Luis Barragán’s house and workshop rise on two adjacent lots, numbers 12 and 14 of General Francisco Ramírez Street in the Daniel Garza sector of Mexico City. The façades of this double plan form a single unit facing southeast.
The decision to build the house on a small street in the old Tacubaya working-class neighborhood is one of the first declarations of the work’s manifesto. Despite urban development pressures, this popular neighborhood struggles to conserve part of its singular character.
This neighborhood was composed of modest, small-scale houses, particularly “vecindades,” a traditional housing typology of Mexico City. Workshops, grocery stores, construction material distributors, and small local restaurants complement the house-surrounding context.
Construction of Luis Barragan’s house began when the architect was carrying out the first stage of Jardines del Pedregal (1947), the most successful residential development for the elite in Mexico City’s real estate history. It is remarkable that the same architect who conceived it did not choose to build his own house in El Pedregal but rather in Tacubaya, maybe as a testimony of the urban values closest to his heart.
The house’s main façade is aligned with the street and preserves the appearance of the neighboring constructions. It is a massive boundary with precise openings. Due to its austere, almost unfinished expression, the house would practically be unnoticed, except for its scale, which contrasts with the rest of the neighborhood buildings.
The house announces the dwelling of an artist, and at the same time, its materials speak of an introspective and intimate nature, paradoxically humble and intentionally anonymous.
The translucent, closed reticulated library window is the single item projecting over the plane of the façade. Almost the entire exterior conserves the plastered concrete’s color and natural roughness, where only the pedestrian and automobile entrance doors and the window’s ironwork are painted.
In this sobriety, the upper left angle of the façade contrasts with two planes that form a corner: yellow and orange. Finally, the white tower’s verticality used as a water deposit crowns the house’s silhouette against the sky.
This same gesture, the water tower, can be found at Francisco Ramírez 20. The house on the left side also shares the façade’s silhouette and the central window’s projection in the composition. As stated before, any chronology of the house and workshop of Luis Barragán must stop for an instant in the house next door, which can be considered, no doubt, as a first experimental model or the embryonic state of a project that continues in its neighboring lots. This closeness of two works intimately linked by the same creative process represents a singular case in modern architecture’s history.
The north door, marked with the number 12, was Luis Barragán’s workshop during his lifetime. It can be distinguished by the façade’s silhouette, perceived as a volume of lesser height. Number 14 is the access to the architect’s house.
Luis Barragan House Floor Plan
Luis Barragan House and Studio Gallery
About Luis Barragan
Luis Ramiro Barragán Morfín (1902 – 1988) was a Mexican architect and one of the most influential figures in 20th-century Mexican architecture. He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1902 and studied architecture in Mexico City. Barragán is best known for his innovative use of color, light, and geometry in his designs, as well as his integration of nature into his architectural spaces. He was also a pioneer in the field of landscape architecture and is recognized for his contributions to the development of modern architecture in Mexico. His works, including Casa Gilardi and Casa Pedregal, are considered masterpieces and are celebrated for their originality and timelessness. His work is often quoted in reference to minimalist architecture despite the use of color due to the architectural ideas of forms and spaces which Barragán pioneered. Barragán’s influence can be seen in many of Mexico’s contemporary architects, especially in Ricardo Legorreta’s projects.