Luis Barragan

Luis Barragan

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      Luis Barragan is a famous architect of landscape architecture in Mexico in the 20th century. He won the International Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 1980. Barragan has an uncanny ability to faithfully represent the materials, to reflect the local architectural characteristics, to present light and shadow changes inside the building, and to create a quiet atmosphere through the building and landscape with the vibrant colors generated by the reflection of the water.


In 1902,

      Born on a ranch near Guadalajara, Mexico, it's a land of red dirt and rolling hills with a view of the early sunset. Nearby, garden-style houses have overhangs and landscaped fountains, as well as churches and fairs. These left an indelible impression on him and influenced the direction of his work for the rest of his life.

      After graduating from the General Engineering Department of the University of Guadalajana, he switched from engineering to architecture, which he was more interested in, but did not go to school again. He studied on his own.

In 1925,

      He left Mexico and traveled to Europe, where he attended Cobb's lectures.

      Before returning to Mexico, he visited Greece, where he fell in love with the simplicity of the common community house; In Spain he found his idea-the Alhambra palace of the Moorish Kings near Granada, the medieval Spanish capital, with its walls of unrestrained asymmetrical displays and silent gardens of sparkling springs.

In 1927,

      Several of the buildings he has completed in Guadalajana are mainly residential.

Before 1936,

      He returned to the ranch to perform his family duties; He then moved to Mexico to work on the creation of a silent environment. The first task was to find a form of architecture that would fit in with Mexico's own characteristics; Just as Islamic architecture -- and especially the Moroccan dynasty -- outlined a suitable environment for local needs.

In 1940,

      The French intellectual, painter, landscape-architect Ferdinand Bac and the Mexican sculptor Mathias Goeritz got to know his design more spiritually. He developed a personal style of expression based on what he felt; He combines his hidden surrealism with native Mexican plants, water features and simple geometric architectural forms.

In 1944,

      He bought 865 acres of lava desert and built EL Pedregal (1943-1950) in the Mexican city, describing his love of private seclusion and attention to nature.

In 1947,

      He transformed the traditional architectural form of Mexico into an expression of abstract architectural language, which is undoubtedly shown in the architect's own house.

In 1967,

      San Cristobal House (1967-1968), Mexico City, with base stone plates surrounding shallow pools -- a setting reminiscent of the 17th-18th centuries: the charm of Mexico's open-plan churches, and his early elevated waterways that might have become carvings of 20th-century minimalist art.

In 1976,

      His work is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In 1980,

      Received the International Pritzker Prize for Architecture.

In 1985,

      Exhibited at the Rufino Tamayo Art Museum in Mexico City.

In November 1988


Architectural achievement

      Barragan dedicated himself to architecture with extraordinary expression and poetic imagination. He created gardens, plazas, and beautiful fountains that floated in his mind, a metaphysical landscape where one could meditate and mingle. A Stoic commitment to solitude permeates his work like a man's destiny. His heart is in harmony, and in Mexico he lovingly accepts its secular home. There is much to praise in this early house, where he creates a garden of peace, a chapel of forgiveness for his desires and anger, and displays his confidence. The garden is the beginning of the myth and the church is the end. For Barragan, architecture is a form in which man lives between two extremes. His travels inspired his interest in native architecture in North Africa and the Mediterranean, which in turn was linked to the construction of his homeland.

      His works have been called minimalist art, but his colors and compositions remain bold and extravagant. Flat surfaces, stucco walls, wood and even water are all elements of his creations.

Use of color and light

      The use of all kinds of strong and bright color walls is a distinct individual characteristic in Baragan's design, which later also became an important design element in Mexican architecture. He paid attention to the gorgeous colors in Mexican houses and applied them to many of his works. These colors come from the traditional and pure colors of Mexico. "This colorful paint doesn't come from modern paints, it comes from natural dyes that can be found everywhere in the Mexican market. The dye is made by mixing pollen with snail shell powder and won't fade over the years. You can see that he used to have the pink wall, but there was always a flowering grove of the same colour on the side. This is the national flower of Mexico, and the color of the walls comes from these flowers.

      The use of sunlight in Baragan's works is the finishing touch of his works, bringing sunlight and air in nature into our sight and life. And with those strong colour wall body crisscross together, make the mixture of both produces bizarre effect.

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