by Neometro

Icon Series | Luis Barragán.

Architecture, Design - by Tiffany Jade
  • Luis Barragán in his library, 1963.Photo Ursula Bernath

8th November, 2022

Luis Ramiro Barragán Morfin was an early pioneered of a multi-disciplinary approach to shaping the built environment. Trained as an engineer and architect, he was also deeply influenced by landscape and culture, pouring a unification of these into a portfolio of projects which have arguably grown in relevance to find accord with modern principles. 


Born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1902, Barragán has come to be celebrated as a global authority on both architecture and urban design. His body of over 30 works is marked by a constant dialogue between composition and nature with many of his buildings distinguished by a mediation between tradition and the vernacular.

© Casa Luis Barragán

In 1948, Barragán built his own home — Casa Barragán — where his iconic tempering of bold colours and strong geometric form is evident through the gentle expression of natural materials, light filtered through foliage and the ever present garden environment.

Defined by a material palette that is “short on variation yet generous to the senses,” the home is an example of Barragán’s capacity to merge the traditional touchstones of Mexican architecture with modernity.

© Casa Luis Barragán

Drawn to the botanical qualities of gardens and the civic resonance of the sprawling public gardens of Europe, Barragán’s earliest works were residential projects and gardens. Over time however, he naturally began to invest in property, opening up the possibility for him to then develop it in ways that echoed the civic nature of European cities as well as the principles practised by artist friends he was surrounded by.   

Never loosing sight of the necessity to merge the built and natural worlds, Barragán effortlessly pivoted to urban planning, design many gardens, religious places and public architectural installations that instilled a sensory layer within Mexico’s milieu. 

Capilla De Las Capuchinas
Tlalpan, Mexico.

Central to Barragan’s legacy is his commitment to sensorial immersion. Consideration for the way places are experienced through sight, sound, touch and smell, the transcendental properties that elicit that give them profound resonance. Today, this sentiment is coming full circle, demonstrated keenly in the legacy of many architectural vanguards (Robin Boyd being a seminal Australian example) who articulated through their buildings the need for inhabitants to truly engage with their surroundings and form a relationship with the walls of the world that surround them.  

“…the words beauty, inspiration, enchantment, magic, sorcery, charm and also serenity, silence, intimacy and amazement have disappeared at an alarming rate in publications devoted to architecture. All of them have found a loving welcome in my soul, and even if I am far from claiming to have made them complete justice in my work, they have never ceased to be my beacon. ” – Luis Barragán


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