Luis Barragán was a Pritzker Prize winning architect whose work came to represent an architectural trend born in his native Guadalajara known as the Escuela Tapatía de Arquitectura. He was living in retirement in mid-1970s Mexico City when Francisco “Pancho” Gilardi and Martín Luque approached him for a home design. Gilardi and Luque, partners in an advertising firm, invited an unconvinced Barragán to the site where the house was to be built.
Impressed by a large jacaranda tree on the property, Barragán decided to come out of retirement to design what is now Casa Gilardi. Jacarandas were brought to Mexico City from their native South America by Tatsugoro Matsumoto (his first name is also found spelled as Tsasugoro), as an attempt to build up Mexican-Japanese relations. The tree was chosen after it was discovered that the emblematic Japanese blossoming cherry trees were unsuited to the Mexican capital’s climate.
Large swathes of blue-purple jacaranda flowers cover the city when the trees are in bloom. The same shade of color is featured prominently in Casa Gilardi. Built between 1975 and 1977, the house was completed as Barragán turned 75 years old. It would be the last work entirely his own before he passed in 1988. The structure includes many of his characteristic trademarks such as large volumes with minimalist decoration, water features, and monochrome walls in bright colors.
Following Gilardi’s death, Luque gained full ownership of the house and renamed it in honor of his partner. Luque’s family continues to own the property, which is open to visitors for tours as well as occasional art exhibitions and other events.
Know Before You Go
Free of charge visits to Casa Gilardi must be booked in advance either via phone or email. The contact information can be found on the official website.
It is open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 4 pm. Open Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm.
Barragán's own former home, the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Casa Estudio Luis Barragán, is located a few blocks away.
The nearest Metro stations to it and Casa Gilardi are Juanacatlán on Line 1 (pink) and Constituyentes on Line 7 (orange). To appreciate the city's jacarandas in full bloom, the season normally lasts from late February to April.