written by:
December 7, 2010

My fourth and final day in Mexico City was a real treat: the perfect blend of making a few new friends and finally clapping eyes on a building that feels like an old pal. I met up with graphic designer Alex Quinto at my hotel and we zipped (well, no one really zips in Mexico City traffic) to the house and studio of the great Mexican modernist Luis Barragan. We saw two of his designs, stopped downtown to walk around a bit more, and then met architect Lucio Muniain at his home for lunch. It was a great meal and I certainly had plenty to reflect on during my excriciatingly slow crawl to the airport for my evening flight. Have a look at the slideshow.

This is not the Barragan house or studio, just a sign in front of this wonderfully textured building. I think it's a house, but in any case it's just around the corner from the block of the Daniel Garza neighborhood where Barragan did some of his best wor
This is not the Barragan house or studio, just a sign in front of this wonderfully textured building. I think it's a house, but in any case it's just around the corner from the block of the Daniel Garza neighborhood where Barragan did some of his best work.
1 / 9
Photography inside the house and studio was strictly forbidden--nevermind that they lost our reservation, didn't know where the docent was, didn't have change for the entry fee. Photos were out. So here's a snap I took of the street-facing facade. Barraga
Photography inside the house and studio was strictly forbidden--nevermind that they lost our reservation, didn't know where the docent was, didn't have change for the entry fee. Photos were out. So here's a snap I took of the street-facing facade. Barragan's work on this block is utterly inward with a high wall blocking off the residence and garden. If you didn't know where to look you'd miss it entirely.
2 / 9
The sole proof I've got that I even made it to the place.
The sole proof I've got that I even made it to the place.
3 / 9
From the street Casa Ortega (just next door) cuts a more impressive figure. The pink walls are classic Barragan. I only got to tour the gardens of Casa Ortega because a member of the Ortega family still lives in the house. He was puttering around the hous
From the street Casa Ortega (just next door) cuts a more impressive figure. The pink walls are classic Barragan. I only got to tour the gardens of Casa Ortega because a member of the Ortega family still lives in the house. He was puttering around the house and needed a bit of sweet talking (thanks Alex) before he'd let us wander around with a guide from the house and studio. You can make out the rectangular towers Barragan liked to put on his roofs, though. The pink one belongs to Ortega and the white to the house and studio.
4 / 9
Once we got to the Centro of Mexico City, Alex and I had a quick walk around. One stop was the Palacio des Bellas Artes, notable not just for the architecture, but for a series of murals inside, including one by Diego Rivera.
Once we got to the Centro of Mexico City, Alex and I had a quick walk around. One stop was the Palacio des Bellas Artes, notable not just for the architecture, but for a series of murals inside, including one by Diego Rivera.
5 / 9
Here's a tower by Legoretta + Legoretta Architects, a Mexican firm of great repute. You can see how hazy the air is downtown in Mexico City. I wasn't really very far from this building at all when I took the photo.
Here's a tower by Legoretta + Legoretta Architects, a Mexican firm of great repute. You can see how hazy the air is downtown in Mexico City. I wasn't really very far from this building at all when I took the photo.
6 / 9
I was pretty impressed by the 18th century House of Tiles. The facade is covered with amazing tiles from Puebla, Mexico, and inside the building has a giant shop and a restaurant called Sanborn's. Alex told me it's not the best place to eat, but consideri
I was pretty impressed by the 18th century House of Tiles. The facade is covered with amazing tiles from Puebla, Mexico, and inside the building has a giant shop and a restaurant called Sanborn's. Alex told me it's not the best place to eat, but considering the beauty of the courtyard (the light was tough to get a good shot) you're paying mostly for the spectacular view.
7 / 9
For our own lunch we visited the house of architect Lucio Muniain. Alex turned me on to his work--he did Muniain's website--and it was great to see in person. Here's the big showpiece in the house, the family's collection of books and music in a sunken li
For our own lunch we visited the house of architect Lucio Muniain. Alex turned me on to his work--he did Muniain's website--and it was great to see in person. Here's the big showpiece in the house, the family's collection of books and music in a sunken living room with a dining room above. It's pretty dramatic and the living room opens on to a lovely courtyard.
8 / 9
Another great move, and one that felt very Barragan, is this ramp that leads out of the entryway upstairs. The textured concrete has a real gravity, and like Barragan, Muniain deftly uses skylights to offer all kinds of indirect light that only enhances t
Another great move, and one that felt very Barragan, is this ramp that leads out of the entryway upstairs. The textured concrete has a real gravity, and like Barragan, Muniain deftly uses skylights to offer all kinds of indirect light that only enhances the surface of the soaring concrete wall.
9 / 9
This is not the Barragan house or studio, just a sign in front of this wonderfully textured building. I think it's a house, but in any case it's just around the corner from the block of the Daniel Garza neighborhood where Barragan did some of his best wor
This is not the Barragan house or studio, just a sign in front of this wonderfully textured building. I think it's a house, but in any case it's just around the corner from the block of the Daniel Garza neighborhood where Barragan did some of his best work.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment living room vertical oak slats
For the modernists among us, these spare spaces are a dream come true.
February 08, 2016
The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a very traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.
From a large gathering space for family or a tranquil sanctuary, these seven designs feature some very different takes on the ancient idea of a courtyard.
February 08, 2016
stdaluminum 021
Since windows and doors are such important aspects of your home, it’s always a good idea to take the time to evaluate how they fit within the lifestyle you want. Whether you’re in the middle of constructing a new home, or you’re considering replacing your current setup, there are multiple elements to consider when it comes time to make the final decisions. Milgard® Windows & Doors understands how vital these choices are to the well-being of your home and has developed ways to turn the process into a journey that can be just as enjoyable as it is fulfilling. Not sure where to start? We gathered some helpful insights from their team of experts to help us better understand what goes into the process of bringing your vision to life.
February 08, 2016
modern fire resistant green boulder loewen windows south facade triple planed low-e glass
These houses in Broncos Country prove modern design is alive in the Rocky Mountains.
February 08, 2016
french evolution paris daniel rozensztroch living area eames la chaise butterfly chair moroccan berber rug
A tastemaker brings his distinct vision to an industrial loft with a centuries-old pedigree.
February 07, 2016
senses touch products
The haptic impact can’t be underplayed. The tactility of a material—its temperature, its texture­—can make the difference between pleasure and discontent.
February 07, 2016
senses taste products
Ambience is a key ingredient to any meal—materials, textures, and mood all impart a certain flavor.
February 07, 2016
senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016
Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.
The classic designer's signature and comfortable forms continue to be popular in homes today.
February 03, 2016
Zinc-roofed cabin France.
An architect builds an energy-efficient home near one of France’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
February 03, 2016