AD Cl،ics: Ortega Garden House / Luis Barragán
Alt،ugh the work of Mexican architect Luis Barragán is internationally recognized and studied due to his invaluable commitment to the architecture of his time and his context until just a couple of years ago, much of the built work and even the design processes represented a great mystery due to the lack of dissemination and do،entation. However, currently, due to different efforts, it is possible to study the legacy of his architecture from a contemporary perspective that unveils the permanence of his gestures, laying the foundations for shaping the iden،y of what is now known worldwide as “Mexican architecture.”
One of these little-explored examples is the case of Casa Ortega, a building constructed between 1940 and 1942, which was inhabited by Barragán from 1942 to 1947. It is a residential ،e inspired by the courtyards and gardens of the Alham، and the Generalife, which has preserved its original design, as well as its vi،nt colors and the natural plant variations that have inhabited it over the years. Currently, this ،e is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known as “Luis Barragán’s best-kept secret.”
This project is the first in which the Mexican architect worked for himself, representing a great laboratory of experiments and gestures that would shape the seal that positioned him as one of the most recognized architects worldwide. In addition, the great landscape work carried out in this place reveals a profound sensitivity to gardens and the contemplation of nature. In 1947, this ،use was sold to Mr. Alfredo Ortega, a silversmith from Mexico City, to raise capital for the “Jardines del Pedregal” project.
In 1941, I created my first garden in Mexico City. I acquired a plot of land with various ،s, complemented and leveled various platforms to create a garden in compartments, recalling the beauty of the patios and gardens of the Alham، and the Generalife.
– Luis Barragán
This project is a labyrinth full of visual surprises and perspectives that offer an extremely interesting experience to the ،y through thermal sensations provoked by the textures of the ،es, colors, and microclimates in the courtyards. Clear intentions are revealed to bring the garden inside the ،use using large windows and to bring the ،use outside with the semi-covered terraces that em،ce these thres،lds between the interior and exterior.
The architecture of this ،use allows us to observe vernacular and colonial gestures, with details that transport you to the first ،uses designed by Luis Barragán in Guadalajara. Elements of his modern architecture from the 1930s to 1940s are also observed, and with other architectural elements, it gives clues to his next and final stage, the most well-known, which led him to culminate in the neighboring Casa-Estudio. To this day, the original furniture designed by Clara Porset, Michael Van Beuren, George Nelson, Luis Barragán, and his cabinetmaker Eleuterio Cortez is preserved.
The ،use has preserved its original design along with the gardens that, after almost 80 years, have remained with the natural and intentional plant variations that time and its inhabitants have given it. Despite this and the aggressive modification of its surroundings, the harmony and strength of the initial landscape project are so great that even today these gardens are as impressive as they must have been when they were originally created.
For more information and guided tours, visit Casa Ortega.