Luis Barragán: Evoking Emotion in Architecture

CEO Khai Intela
Image: The distinctive light and shadow in the patterns of Arab latticework and the bright midday light of the Alhambra in Granada inspired Barragán. It has been almost three quarters of a century since the...

La-Alhambra_Granada Image: The distinctive light and shadow in the patterns of Arab latticework and the bright midday light of the Alhambra in Granada inspired Barragán.

It has been almost three quarters of a century since the emotional architecture movement emerged, yet its influence continues to inspire creators across various disciplines. Mexican architect Luis Barragán is renowned for his style that is infused with emotion. His modern, ancestral, and profound works resonate with architects, interior designers, and artists today.

Looking to the Future from the Past: Emotion and Memory in Casa Barragán

Throughout his career, Barragán emphasized the role of emotions in shaping his designs. He believed in combining aesthetics and spirituality to create spaces that evoke emotions. Many of his projects were born from barren lands in non-existent neighborhoods. It was the seemingly empty surroundings that moved him, inspiring him to incorporate minute details like a breath of air, the movement of small wild animals, or the play of light.

La Casa Estudio Luis Barragán Image: La Casa Estudio Luis Barragán, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

His own emotions and experiences, rooted in his childhood and early adolescence, played a significant role in his works. Memories of his father's ranch acted as the foundation for his designs. Barragán's travels abroad also influenced his creations as he translated his experiences and impressions into architectural drawings and space.

Casa Estudio Luis Barragán, built in 1948, stands as one of the most important contemporary works of architecture. The house, with its preference for natural materials, represents an intimate refuge that stirs emotions and guards memories. Its allure continues to attract and inspire creators, architects, and artists.

Light and Color: Creating Emotional Atmospheres

La-Alhambra_Granada Image: Barragán's inspiration from the distinctive light and shadow in the patterns of Arab latticework and the bright midday light of the Alhambra in Granada.

Light and color played a vital role in Barragán's work. He intricately incorporated them into his designs, drawing inspiration from his trips to Morocco and the Alhambra in Granada. The interplay of light and shadow, as well as the contrasting warmth and coolness of the sun's rays, were imprinted in his memory.

Barragán understood the importance of quality of light over quantity and skillfully modulated and graduated spaces. Shutters, lattice, and curtains controlled the amount of light, creating the desired emotional response. The appropriate use of light and color allowed Barragán to transmit his emotions effectively, enveloping visitors to Casa Barragán in serenity and beauty.

Geometry, Volumes, and Emotions

Geometry and volume were recurring elements throughout Barragán's work, imbuing his spaces with peace, calmness, and well-being. Even spaces with right angles and intersections lacked aggression; instead, they evoked soothing emotions that cleared the mind and provided a sense of freedom. The combination of straight lines and curves, along with the harmonious contrast and balance of geometric elements, added subtlety and elegance to his designs.

Materials: The Guardians of Memory

Barragán favored ancestral, earthy building materials that carry their own memories. Volcanic stone, reminiscent of his childhood home, and the use of solid wood, leathers, furs, and fabrics, reflecting his time in North Africa, all found their place in Casa Barragán. These organic materials, with their textures and personalities shaped by time, became guardians of memories, both his own and those of others.

A Contemporary Twist: Inspiring Architecture and Art

Barragán's legacy and emotional style have influenced numerous architects and artists, transcending borders. Alberto Karach's Vasconcelos Library and Javier Senosiain's Nido de Quetzalcoatl showcase the enduring impact of Barragán's emotional architecture. Salvador Macías, who inherited part of Barragán's personal property, continues to carry the torch, serving as a role model and inspiration for creators worldwide.

Tatiana Bilbao expressed her fascination with Barragán's window overlooking the Ortega Garden, turning it into a poetic element that evokes nostalgia, dreams, and desires. Miguel de la Torre and Javier Sánchez found inspiration in Barragán's homes for their PADRE project, where the emotional architecture of Luis Barragán remains unmistakable.

Luis Barragán artfully conveyed his emotions through color, light, volumes, and geometry. His bold approach has influenced artists who have captured these emotions over time, infusing their own creations with unique emotions.

In conclusion, Luis Barragán's style marked by emotion continues to inspire generations, bridging the gap between architecture and art. His legacy lives on, invigorating creators to evoke and transmit their emotions through their own works.