Design Profile: Architect Luis Barragán
“I don’t divide architecture, landscape and gardening; to me they are one.” - Luis Barragán
Luis Barragán was one of Mexico’s greatest architects, born in 1902 he took influences from traditional Mexican architecture and modernised it. To this day, his buildings are known for bright colours and beautiful landscaping. Notable works include his own home, Casa Barragán, as well as Cuadra San Cristóbal and the Tlapan Chapel.
After graduating in 1925 in civil engineering and architecture, he began an odyssey of sorts through Europe. Inspiration he gained from the beauty of the gardens of most well known capitals, as well as the influence of Mediterranean and Muslim culture on architecture and cities aesthetic. This is when his interest in landscape architecture began. In all of his most famous buildings, the melding of indoor and outdoor underpins his design. A common architectural trait that is utilised by many current architects.
His use of light and reflection guides how we see colour in his buildings. Whether from the minimalist, paired back interiors opening up to courtyards plastered in brights that shock the eyes or in the use of water to reflect and refract colour. The tones and shades chosen move the eye of the observer around the space, with clean lines and solid walls opening up to the sky. This combination of serene gardens and bright block colours earned him accolades such as the Pritzker Prize in 1980, the Jalisco Award in 1985 and just before his death he received Mexico’s National Architecture Award in 1987.
His home and studio Casa Barragan are now a UNESCO World Heritage site and have become places of pilgrimage for architects and designers alike. By adding pigment to plaster or using light through tinted glass he created evocative spaces for peaceful meditation or reading. Names such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Corbusier are so often associated with modernist architecture, while Barragan stayed predominantly in Mexico, his work has been slightly overlooked however influential it has now become to architecture.
Check out my new collection, influenced by the interconnecting colours of Barragan’s work