Luis Barragán House and Studio
Luis Barragán House And Studio
Cultural Mexico Latin America And The Caribbean Mexico City

The Luis Barragán House and Studio exhibit the integration of modern and traditional influences, which in turn have had an important impact especially on garden design and urban landscaping. The artistic manifesto of Casa Estudio Luis Barragán is the result of the criticism and renovation of the Modern Movement in architecture, achieved by synthesizing other cultural traditions and artistic styles, fundamentally Mexican heritage, but surpassing its cultural horizon with many other approaches.

Luis Barragán (1902-88) was trained as an engineer, but became a self-taught architect. In his early career he was involved in real estate management. The property on which the house and studio were built was probably purchased in 1939 together with a larger area. This moment coincides with his shift of interest from real estate activities towards architecture. He built the so-called Ortega House, making use of a pre-existing building. He took up his residence in this house in 1943. The house in No. 14 was built in 1948. The first drawings for the project were realized for Mrs Luz Escandón de R. Valenzuela. However, in summer 1948, Barragán decided to take the house for himself. The rest of the property was sold to the Ortega family. The plans of the house were gradually developed over the construction period. In fact, it became a sort of laboratory for the architect, who lived there for the rest of his life, until 1988.

The property is a single construction located on two adjacent lots on a small street (12 and 14 General Francisco Ramirez Street) in the Daniel Garza suburb of Mexico City. The total surface area is around 1,161 m2 . Adjacent is Barragán's Ortega House. The house is built from concrete with plaster rendering. It has a ground floor and two upper storeys, as well as a small private garden. The entrance is directly from the street on the east side. The garden opens towards the west. The studio takes the northern part of the building, with an entrance directly from the street;the rest is Barragán's private residential quarters.

The entrance facade aligns with the street and preserves the appearance of the neighbouring facades. It is a massive boundary with precise openings. Because of its austere, almost unfinished appearance, the house would almost be unnoticed, except for its scale, which contrasts with the rest of the buildings in the neighbourhood. The house announces the dwelling of an upper-class gentleman, but at the same time its materials speak of an introspective and intimate nature, paradoxically humble. All the windows of the eastern facade represent the possibility of hiding the direct communication between domestic space and the city. The entire exterior conserves the colour and natural roughness of the plastered concrete.

Some of the subdivisions or screens were introduced later. The separate dining room is reached from the hall and the living room, next to which there is a small breakfast room and the kitchen. All these spaces open towards the garden. On the first floor are the master bedroom and a guest room, as well as an 'afternoon room'. On the second floor, there are service spaces and a roof terrace. The upper storeys are accessed via narrow stairs without railings. The levels of the different floors are not regularly placed, but are designed so as to allow spaces of different heights. Thus, the living room is double height.

The north side of the property is reserved for the studio with direct access from the street. There is also internal access from the living room. The main studio space is linked with the garden through a patio. On the street side, there are two small offices, and on the first floor there is a small private office.

On the garden side, the building has a very different aspect compared with the street side. The qualities of Barragán's architecture are expressed in the treatment of the spaces inside the house, where he plays with strong non-harmonic colour schemes (e.g. the sequence from the entrance);the raw volcanic stone on the vestibule floor extends through a second door to the hall. The garden was initially conceived as a large expanse of grass, but Barragán later allowed it to grow more freely.