The Architects Who Inspire Us| Part 2: Luis Barragan
Luis Ramiro Barragán Morfín (March 9, 1902 – November 22, 1988) was a Mexican architect. Barragán won the Pritzker Prize, the highest award in architecture, in 1980 and his personal home, the Luis Barragán House and Studio, was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004.
His architectural practice was based in Guadalajara from 1927 until 1936 when he moved to Mexico City and remained until his death. His work has been called minimalist, but it is nonetheless sumptuous in color and texture. Pure planes, be they walls of stucco, adobe, timber, or even water, are his compositional elements, all interacting with Nature.
Barragán attended lectures by Le Corbusier and became influenced by European modernism. The buildings he produced in the years after his return to Mexico show the typical, clean lines of the Modernist movement. Opposed to functionalism, Barragán strove for an "emotional architecture" claiming that "any work of architecture which does not express serenity is a mistake." Barragán always used raw materials such as stone or wood. He combined them with his incredibly creative use of light.
Luis Barragán created an innovative architectural style that combines Modernism with the colonial and pre-hispanic architecture of Mexico and with that of the Mediterranean. His work has influenced the design of gardens and urban architecture in the Americas in the 20th century.
Barragán called himself a landscape architect, writing in Contemporary Architects, published by St. Martin's Press, "I believe that architects should design gardens to be used, as much as the houses they build, to develop a sense of beauty and the taste and inclination toward the fine arts and other spiritual values."
Barragán’s output was not large. The majority of the structures he built are in Guadalajara and Mexico City. Among his notable works are the house he created around existing buildings at 20–22 Calle Ramírez in the Tacubaya district of Mexico City, where he lived beginning in the 1940s; numbers 10 and 12 Avenida de las Fuentes, among the first houses to be built in El Pedregal, and the Prieto López House there; the San Cristóbal Stables/Egerstrom House; the Gálvez House; and the Gilardi House. The Barragan Foundation (1996) is located near Basel, Switz.