Casa Luis Barragan: Poetry of Color
by Carlos Agresta
In 1947, the famed Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winner, Luis Barragan, designed a house for himself in Tacubaya. The house is now a museum honoring his work, but photographs of it are hard to come by. Now, over 50 years after the house's construction, architects at Estudio Bonta in Buenos Aires have recreated it in a computer model that captures the spirit of the place.
The photographer's camera captures images of extreme beauty. The photographic image in Barragan's works captures climates, silences, emotions... and it transmits to us the message of space and the beauty of the shapes. These images make the power of this technique leap off the paper, and they introduce us to the placid world of the artist.
This digital exercise pretends neither to compete with, nor substitute for, the art of photography. We use the technique as an analytic resource because of the unexpected difficulty we encountered in obtaining the necessary material to document the work of this master Mexican architect.
We constructed a digital model of the house, trying to reproduce its space and content. Laboriously and with little documentation, we began to construct the model. Later we applied the colors, lights, and textures and concluded with the furnishings, which the architect appreciated and incorporated as intentional objects in his work.
The House in Tacubaya
The house/studio of Luis Barragan lies on a quiet, dead-end street near the town's center. The front of the house blends in with its austere surroundings, in a clear attempt not to stand out among the houses. The only remarkable features are the white tower and projecting window.
Upon entering a dark hallway we turn to the first point of interest: a pink plane that contains the main hall. Here is our first contact with light management, color, and texture.
Barragan's house today.
Photo: Pedro Bonta
The architect's use of primary colors reflects his love of Mexican folk culture.
Image: Estudio Bonta
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