CASA GILARDI: An architectural marvel unlike any other, courtesy of Luis Barragán

Culture / July 28, 2023

In a sea of minimalist, functional, and relatively soulless and frankly boring structures, stands Casa Gilardi in Mexico City. 

Barragán’s choice of color can be attributed to the blue-purple jacaranda flowers that cover the city when the trees are in bloom

Bursting with personality and pops of color, the home-turned-attraction was designed by renowned architect Luis Barragán after being approached by advertising executives Francisco Gilardi and Martín Luque. Casa Gilardi was built between 1975 and 1977 and would be his last solo venture before his passing in 1988. The residence is currently owned by the Luque family who has kept it open for tours and art exhibitions.

A Jacaranda Tree inside the Casa Gilardi inner courtyard

Jacarandas were brought to Mexico City from South America by Tatsugoro Matsumoto. Barragán was inspired by the Jacaranda Tree standing on the original plot prior to construction— leading him to design the residence around it, and going as far as to color the house based on the shades of its blue-purple flowers. Unfortunately, however, the tree wasn’t in full bloom at the time of my visit—it would have been a sight to behold—the bright flowers complementing the walls its color is based on, and its cool tone contrasting with the yellow warmth the rest of the courtyard radiates.

Swimming pool and dining area access inside Casa Gilardi

The swimming pool, adjoined by the dining area inside Casa Gilardi

With the house’s inner courtyard and Jacaranda tree lying on the residence’s eastern side, a hallway runs along the western portion, connecting Casa Gilardi’s iconic pool to the rest of the home. The swimming pool is noted to be also connected to the dining area—a design choice recommended by Francisco Gilardi to Barragán.

And yes, that is water on the floor, not glass. I was told during my visit that a number of guests have fallen into the pool after mistaking the clear surface for a walkable one. It may be pretty obvious, but do keep it in mind should you find yourself inside Casa Gilardi—we wouldn’t want you to spoil an otherwise good time with drenched clothes.