Luis Barragán loved horses. And in the late 1960s, the architect was commissioned to design an equestrian compound near Mexico City with stables, riding paddocks, and a four-bedroom house for the Egerstrom family.
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 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 the 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 outdoor 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 as a result of 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. Throughout the site, 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 about 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 very 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 obvious that they are both designed by the same person.
San Cristobal Stable Plans
San Cristobal Stable Image Gallery
About Luis Barragan
Luis Ramiro Barragán Morfín (March 9, 1902 – November 22, 1988) was a Mexican architect and engineer. He won the Pritzker Prize in 1980, and his personal home, the Luis Barragán House and Studio were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.