Friday, May 30, 2008

Casa Luis Barragan in Mexico City

On a recent stay in Mexico City, I visited the Casa Luis Barragán, the former home of Mexico's most influential modern architect. Luis Barragán built the house in 1947 and lived there until his death in 1948. It is now operated as a museum by a nonprofit organization that gives tours to the public.

Born in Guadalajara in 1902, Luis Barragán trained as an engineer and later taught himself architecture. He was greatly influenced by the convents, haciendas, and provincial towns of Mexico as well as by the Moorish architecture of southern Spain and Morocco. Barragán was a lover of solitude and a deeply religious man. In keeping with these values, his house's interior is almost monastic in its simplicity. However, natural light and colour are everywhere, and the multilevel structure is full of architectural surprises, eclectic furnishings, plus carefully framed views of a semi-wild tropical garden.

In 2004, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added the Casa Luis Barragán to its World Heritage List, making it the only single building in the world to have been awarded this honour.

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Casa Luis Barragan - Images by John Mitchell

The Casa Luis Barragán is located at Francisco Ramírez 14 in Mexico City’s Tacubaya district, not far from the Constituyentes metro (subway) station. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am-2pm and 4pm-6pm, as well as Saturday 10am-1pm. Tours of the house led by Spanish-speaking guides are given by appointment only. Admission is 100 Mexican pesos or about $10. E-mail informes@casaluisBarragá to arrange a visiting time.

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