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Los Clubes, Atizapán de Zaragoza
© Barragan Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022. Photo: Armando Salas, Portugal.

The oeuvre of the Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902 to 1988) unfolded over a period from the late 1920s to the 1980s. Barragán, who is regarded as the most important Mexican architect of the 20th century, had already attracted international attention with his first buildings in his hometown of Guadalajara. In 1935, he moved to Mexico City, developed his architectural language further and combined the international vocabulary of modernism with characteristic elements of Mexican culture and landscape. His most important works include the planning of the Jardines del Pedregal district (1945 to 1952) in the middle of a lava landscape in the south of Mexico City, his own residential building (1948) and the two housing estates Las Arboledas (1957 to 1962) and Los Clubes (1961 to 1966). In 1980, Barragán was honoured with the Pritzker Prize, the world’s most important award for architecture.

Since 1996, the architect’s estate has been in the possession of the Barragán Foundation in Birsfelden near Basel. Over the past 20 years, a small team led by Federica Zanco has systematically recorded and scientifically processed the archival holdings there. As part of a new partnership between the Foundation and the Vitra Design Museum, the Barragán Archive will now be transferred to the Vitra Design Museum on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, where in future it will be available for further research and cooperation with other institutions, together with other important archive holdings, such as those of Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, Anton Lorenz, George Nelson and Verner Panton. The archive will be housed in premises designed by Dieter Thiel in the immediate vicinity of the Vitra Schaudepot – an archive room, a study room and an exhibition space, the Barragán Gallery. Set up by Martin Josephy in collaboration with Luis E. Carranza, an expert on architecture in Latin America, the Barragán Gallery displays a selection of plans, photographs and other documents, as well as biographical information and an illustrated timeline of modern architecture in Mexico.

The documents and objects in the archive comprise the entire professional estate of Luis Barragán. This includes around 13,500 drawings, plans and documents, a photo collection of approximately the same size, as well as a number of models, pieces of furniture and objects. The Vitra Design Museum is planning a new retrospective of Luis Barragán’s work for the coming years. A publication on his complete works is also in preparation.

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