Destination Memories: Mexico City, Mexico

Members and travel writers share the places they’re travelling to, albeit in their minds

A woman walking towards a circular concrete structure.

Andrew Trotter, Openhouse magazine founder and Barcelona member, recalls uncovering Barragán treasures in Mexico City

By Andrew Trotter    Images by Salva López (top: Casa Wabi - Bosco Sodi by Tadao Ando)    Saturday 25 April, 2020   Short read

An outdoor area with a pink wall.

Casa Estudio Max Cetto

A pink and white outdoor area with a small water feature.

Cuadra San Cristobál by Luis Barragán

I had been planning a trip to Mexico City for a long time. Luis Barragán is one of my favourite architects of all time (and someone I looked to for inspiration throughout my career), but to think that I had never actually seen one of his works in real life, I needed to change this. 

Before getting into the visits that we’d already booked to every house, monument and church that Barragán had touched, we set out to taste the delights of the city. The first surprise of a place that holds more than 21 million inhabitants, was the calm of its leafy streets. We walked through Roma and Condesa, watching locals parading their dogs and sipping matcha lattes in the coolest cafes. 

Casa Barragán was first on our list. I must admit, a tear came to my eye as we entered his salon, a room that I knew by heart from the multitude of photos that I have looked at. But nothing compares to seeing a place in real life. I had never before seen a room so powerful, yet so human and cosy at the same time. This is why he was a master. Barragán didn’t disappoint us for one minute.
A sparse wooden home interior.

'I had never before seen a room so powerful, yet so human and cosy at the same time. This is why he was a master'

Above image: Casa Pedregal by Luis Barragán

What followed was a full schedule – from his home to the Convent of Capuchinas, Casa Gilardi, Cuadra San Cristóbal and ending with Casa Pedregal, our tour of Mexico City was full of magic. 

Our last two days in the vast city were to be spent in Casa Max Cetto – Barragán’s grandson Julien and his partner Paulina had moved in to reform the house and begin to open it to the public. The namesake Max Cetto, a long-term collaborator of Barragán, was the first to build his house in Pedregal – at the time a volcanic area outside of the city. Listening to Julien’s stories of his mother growing up in the house surrounded by all the artistic community of Mexico City, cooking in the kitchen together with Paulina and waking up in Cetto’s room in the morning, helped us feel the house and the architect who made it much more than any short visit could do. 

To this day, Mexico remains a source of inspiration, for my work and for my mind.


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Photography by @salvalopez;

A pink building interior with a glass wall.

Casa Pedregal by Luis Barragán

a modernist building with vegetation growing around it.

Casa Estudio Max Cetto

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