Luis Barragan’s love for horses was reflected in his architectural designs, and in the late 1960s, he was commissioned to create an exceptional equestrian compound located near Mexico City. The property was intended to house the Egerstrom family and their horses and included stables, riding paddocks, and a spacious four-bedroom house.
Barragan’s design vision for the San Cristobal Stable & Egerstrom House was influenced by his signature style of combining minimalist elements with vivid pops of color. The compound’s striking pink walls and bright blue accents against the natural landscape are a testament to his unique design philosophy.
San Cristobal Stable Technical Information
- Architects: Luis Barragan | Biography & Bibliography, Andrés Casillas
- Location: Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico City, Mexico
- Material: Brick & Plaster
- Typology: Residential / House
- Project Year: 1964-1969
- Drawings: © Luis Barragan
- Photographs: © Steve Silverman
Architecture is an art when one consciously or unconsciously creates aesthetic emotion in the atmosphere and when this environment produces well being.– Luis Barragan
San Cristobal Stable Photographs
The Palatial Oasis of San Cristobal: Luis Barragan’s Iconic Equestrian Design
The project that Luis Barragán, in collaboration with Andrés Casillas, designed in 1966 and built between 1967 and 1968 for Swedish-born Folke S. Egerström (1921-2002) and his family captures the atmosphere of a palazzo with its main house, a two-bedroom guesthouse, stables, and two L-shaped swimming pools: one for people and one for horses.
The house is formally conceived as a multi-layered series of planes of different heights defining a volume. One of its most accomplished features is the relationship between the interior and the exterior. At the entrance, the exterior space between the house and the street is divided by a long wall with a garden on one side and a service wing on the other. The house presents a blind façade to the street, defined only by high wooden doors, a garage, and other hidden services. In the garden, it connects to the pool through a porch, at the end of which is a dressing room for bathers. The project blurs outdoors and indoors, not only through conventional methods but also by the interplay between light and shade, between covered structures and uncovered areas.
Water is a recurring motif in the architect’s work due to colonial influence. In the San Cristobal project, each space flows seamlessly, aided by abstract structures and the use of water. The water is used as a continuity device, and it is a way to bring a sense of calm. The site’s fountains and serene azure tones contrast with the terracotta, crisp whites, and pink exterior walls. At the same time, the fountains and the water features serve as a horse pool. Barragán expressed it:
I calculated the depth of the pond so that when the horse passed, the water would reach the belly.
… and for horses, but horses are neither rich or poor, they’re just horses.”
The Egerstrom house is Barragan’s most complex creation. With extraordinary discipline and few architectural elements, he recreated a micro-model of the pueblos he knew as a child: the house, the plaza, the horses, the friendly trees, and the water. Twenty years separate this house from the one Barragan designed for himself in the Tacubaya section of Mexico City, but it is pretty evident that they are both designed by the same person.
San Cristobal Stable Plans
San Cristobal Stable Image Gallery
About Luis Barragan
Luis Barragan (1902-1988) was a Mexican architect and one of the most celebrated figures in the world of architecture. He was known for his minimalist style, which combined stark geometric shapes with vibrant colors and rich textures. His work is characterized by an emphasis on light and shadow, as well as a deep appreciation for the natural world. Barragan’s designs often incorporated elements of traditional Mexican architecture, as well as modernist and functionalist principles. His unique approach to design has had a profound impact on the field of architecture and has inspired countless architects around the world. In 1980, Barragan became the first and only Mexican architect to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious award in the field, and his personal home, the Luis Barragán House and Studio was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.