Luis Barragán (1902-1988) was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. His professional training was in engineering, resulting in a degree at the age of twenty-three. His architectural skills were self-taught. In the 1920s, he traveled extensively in France and Spain and, in 1931, lived in Paris for a time, attending Le Corbusier’s lectures. His time in Europe, and subsequently in Morroco, stimulated an interest in the native architecture of North Africa and the Mediterranean, which he related to construction in his own country.
Internationally known, the Mexican architect is one of the most gifted practitioners in contemporary landscape architecture. In his work the wall is both the supreme entity and the inhabitant of a larger metaphysical landscape; in the settings he creates, it is at once a screen for revealing the colors of Mexico’s almost white sun, and a shield to suggest unseen presences. His design approach is classical and atemporal, the elements of his architecture are deeply rooted in his country’s cultural and religious traditions; through the haunting beauty of his hieratic constructions we may begin to understand the ardor and intensity of Mexico’s architecture.