Luis Barragan

By Amber Coldwell

Luis Barragan was one of Mexico's most influential 20th century architects. He was also famous for his mastery of space and light, he even reinvented the national style as a colourful, sensuous genre of Mexican modernism. Many of his mastered designs are inspirational for all around, with abstract designs and block shapes, none of his buildings have anything in common which means everything he made was unique and new. He was the son of wealthy, conservative parents, Barragan was born in Guadalajara, Mexico on March 9th 1902, and was brought up on his family's massive estate in the southern state of Jalisco. When he was an engineering student in Guadalajara, he became interested by architecture. When Barragan's wealthy family treated him to a trip to Europe in 1924, he set off in search of ideas to up-date Mexican architecture.
After travelling through Southern Europe, Luis decided to settle down in Paris in 1925. In which he famously visited the wonderful Exposition des Arts Decoratifs. which was an event which popularized Art Deco and introduced the public to the glacial, industrially-produced International Style of Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perrriand. Barragan was impressed by their wonderful work, but when he returned to Guadalajara in 1927 his house designs were mostly traditional with a splash of colour.

In 1931 Barragan spent three months in New York, where he befriended the artist Jose Clemente Orozco. then he returned to Paris and in Paris he met Le Corbusier and landscape architect, Ferdinand Bac. Then in 1940, Barragan planned and designed seven gardens including one for his own house, it was called Francisco Ramirez. Sadly in 1945 Barragan planned a new development in El Pedegral, a lava field outside Mexico City: a highly influential in architectural circles, but it was highly unsuccessful.

As well as being unsuccessful in one project, Barragan's next design was a massive part of his career. it was called the Tlalpan Convent, a great spectacle of his use of colour and light. which he began to develop in 1954 and it was eventually finished in 1958. whilst he was coming to the end of designing the Tlalpan Convent, a new task arrived in 1957 designed the Torri Satelite, a cluster of towers on a traffic intersection in Mexico City. After a long period in Mexico, a book by the architect Emilio Ambasz, restored Barragan's work to its international reputation, in 1975. then amazingly in 1977 a whole exhibition was dedicated to Barragan's wonderful work at MoMA, in New York. after his own exhibition Barragan was on a roll, because he achieved to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize for his unique architecture. Then after many worth-while years Luis Barragan met his match and sadly died in 1988 on the 22nd of November, in Mexico City. his relatives kindly buried him in Guadalajara, his home town.

Satellite City: Obelisks by Luis Barragan and Mathias Goeritz

By Amber Coldwell 7sdt1