Cobre de México, Mexico City, 1965–1966. View of the courtyard, 2017.
Photo Lake Verea

This landscape design, published here for the first time, is a new entry in the list of Luis Barragán’s built work. Its actual realization, location and current state have been assessed by the Barragan Foundation, based on research and site survey findings.

NE corner of Calle Norte 67 and Avenida Biólogo Maximino Martínez, Colonia Obrero Popular, Mexico City
1965–1966
Landscape design
Developed in connection with the housing complex by architect Juan Sordo Madaleno

The project concerns the entrances and gardens of a low-cost housing development located in a densely populated area near Mexico City’s centre, a few kilometres north of Bosque de Chapultepec park. The housing complex was designed by the architect Juan Sordo Madaleno at the same time that he was collaborating with Barragán on the Lomas Verdes master plan. While modest in size and scope, the assignment provided Barragán with the opportunity to apply his landscape design principles to a spatial and social context that differed substantially from his previous undertakings.

The archival material comprises a few sketches, drawings and notes specifying plant specimens and cost estimates. Together, they provide insights into Barragán’s working method and pragmatic approach to budget and space limitations. The plans were developed between September and November 1965, with the final version of the design showing only minor changes in comparison to the preliminary plan, primarily aiming to simplify various elements and reduce costs.

Built on an L-shaped site on the grounds of a former copper factory named Cobre de México (Mexican Copper), the housing complex is composed of five four-storey buildings with linear footprints, which surround an open space in the shape of a narrow rectangle. This is organized as a single elongated garden, set on different levels by low retaining walls incorporating masonry benches and planters.

Cobre de México, Mexico City, 1965–1966. Preliminary plan of landscape design and outdoor spaces, dated September 1965.
Cobre de México, Mexico City, 1965–1966. Preliminary plan of entrance number 2.

Three of the stepped platforms that define the space are planted with trees and shrubs, while the two areas between them have a surface of rammed earth, known as tepetate. A few freestanding masonry partitions provide further spatial articulation and screen the view from adjacent areas. Conforming to this approach, the two street entrances are configured as intimate transitional spaces, partially enclosed by a combination of walls and portals.

The south side of the garden is occupied by a large square playground. Paved in chequered concrete slabs with cobblestone joints, it is bordered by benches made of concrete and features a small storage pavilion. Drinking fountains located in south corner of this area and at the opposite end of the garden complete the basic facilities in the communal space of the Cobre de México housing complex.

The garden’s plants were specified by Barragán, along with their respective placement. The list accompanying the project drawings includes weeping willow, alder and ash trees, combined with lower privet shrubs to cover the tree trunks. Additional shrubs such as pyracanthas and Peruvian peppertrees were to be used extensively in the lower areas of the garden, while jasmine and ivy were selected to grow on the walls, along with roses in soft hues of peach and white.

Thanks to the combination of carefully arranged plants, simple functional features and a few built elements, Barragán infused the collective open space of this dense housing complex with the same sense of seclusion and wonder that characterizes his other landscape designs. Scrupulously fulfilling the social criteria required by its residential context, the Cobre de México garden serves as an appropriate counterpart to the remarkable architectural quality of the buildings by Sordo Madaleno. As the landscaping has remained largely unchanged, it provides a further opportunity to experience Barragán’s vision of the dialogue between nature and architecture.

Cobre de México, Mexico City, 1965–1966. Sections of the housing complex’s proposed entrance and courtyard.
Cobre de México, Mexico City, 1965–1966. View of the front garden, 2017.
Photo Lake Verea
Cobre de México, Mexico City, 1965–1966. View of the front garden, 2017.
Photo Lake Verea
Cobre de México, Mexico City, 1965–1966. View of the courtyard, 2017.
Photo Lake Verea
Cobre de México, Mexico City, 1965–1966. Detail view of the courtyard, 2017.
Photo Lake Verea

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1936
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Landscape design
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1961–1966
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Atizapán de Zaragoza, State of Mexico
Early 1960s
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Realization unknown
1962
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Villa
Unbuilt
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1962
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1963
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Semi-detached residences
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Atizapán de Zaragoza, State of Mexico
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Residential complex
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Urban development
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1965–1966
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Landscape design; consultancy
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1965–1966
Cobre de México
Landscape design
Developed in connection with the housing complex by architect Juan Sordo Madaleno
Mexico City
1965–1967
La Alteña
Residential development
In collaboration with Juan Sordo Madaleno, collaborating architect: Andrés Casillas
Naucalpan de Juárez, State of Mexico
1965–1968, 1971–1972
La Alteña Chapel
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1966–1968
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Villa, equestrian complex, landscape design
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Atizapán de Zaragoza, State of Mexico
1966, 1970–1971
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Villa; extension; subdivision
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Consultancy
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Subdivision
Unbuilt
Tepotzotlán, State of Mexico
1968
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Study
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1969–1971
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Unbuilt
Tepotzotlán, State of Mexico
1969
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Late 1960s
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Late 1960s
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Religious
Realization unknown
Guadalajara, State of Jalisco
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Atizapán de Zaragoza, State of Mexico
Late 1960s
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Subdivision
Realization unknown
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1970
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Subdivision
Realization unknown
Mexico City
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Mixed-use complex
Collaborating architect: Andrés Casillas
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Urban design, apartment buildings
Unbuilt
Ecatepec de Morelos, State of Mexico
1971
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Subdivision
Realization unknown
Mexico City
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Urban design
Realization unknown
Naucalpan de Juárez, State of Mexico
1972–1973
Fuente Roja
Urban design
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Unbuilt
Naucalpan de Juárez, State of Mexico
1972
El Morro
Residential development
Unbuilt
Tepotzotlán, State of Mexico
1972
Neighbourhood Entrance in Lomas Verdes
Urban design
Realization unknown
Naucalpan de Juárez, State of Mexico
1972–1974
El Palomar
Urban development
Collaborating architect: Raúl Ferrera
Unbuilt
Palomar, State of Jalisco
1974
García Robles House
Villa
In collaboration with Andrés Casillas
Unbuilt
Mexico City
1975–1977
Gilardi House
Townhouse
Mexico City
1975–1977
Bernal Molina House
Villa
Construction differs from Barragán’s design
Mexico City
1976
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Renovation; study
Unbuilt
Mexico City
1976–1977
Serrano
Residential development, villa
Unbuilt
Edinburg, State of Texas, USA
1977
Suárez House
Villa
Project by Luis Barragán and Raúl Ferrera
Realization unknown
Mexico City
1977
Harris Bank
Interior design
Project by Luis Barragán and Raúl Ferrera
Mexico City
1978
Office for Bruno Newman
Interior design
Project by Luis Barragán and Raúl Ferrera
Realization unknown
Mexico City
1978
Centro Tane
Interior design
Realization unknown
Mexico City
1978
Torre de Fuego
Urban design
Project by Luis Barragán and Raúl Ferrera
Unbuilt
Monterrey, State of Nuevo León
1978–1980
Meyer House
Villa
Also known as Garate House
Mexico City
1979
Cecurfic
Mixed-use complex
Project by Luis Barragán and Raúl Ferrera
Unbuilt
Monterrey, State of Nuevo León
1979
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Mixed-use
Project by Luis Barragán and Raúl Ferrera
Unbuilt
Mexico City
1979
Silver Tower
Sculpture
Project by Luis Barragán and Raúl Ferrera
1979
El Remanso
Urban design
Project by Luis Barragán and Raúl Ferrera
Unbuilt
Monterrey, State of Nuevo León
1979
Muralla China
Apartment complex
Project by Luis Barragán and Raúl Ferrera
Unbuilt
Manzanillo, State of Colima
1979, 1982, 1984
Barragán + Ferrera office
Interior design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Mexico City
1979–1982
Casa del Pelícano
Villa
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Manzanillo, State of Colima
1979–1982
Visa
Corporate complex
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Monterrey, State of Nuevo León
1979–1980
Capuchin Convent Wing
Religious; extension
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Mexico City
1980
Doral Park Country Club
Mixed-use complex
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Doral, State of Florida, USA
1980–1982
Garza Laguera Penthouse
Interior design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Partially realized
Mexico City
1980–1981
Development in Cancún
Study
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Cancún, State of Quintana Roo
1981
Golf Club in Manzanillo
Sports complex
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Manzanillo, State of Colima
1981–1986
Valdés House
Villa
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Monterrey, State of Nuevo León
1981
Puerta de Oro
Urban design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Monterrey, State of Nuevo León
1981–1982
Placa Roja
Urban design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Monterrey, State of Nuevo León
1981–1982
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Project by Barragán + Ferrera; collaborating designers: Benjamin Baldwin and Jonathan Warwick
Unbuilt
1982–1983
Coppola House
Villa, mixed-use complex, landscape design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
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1982
Peña House
Subdivision, villa
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Santiago, State of Nuevo León
1982
Baldwin House
Villa
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Sarasota, Florida, USA
1982–1984
Faro del Comercio
Urban design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Monterrey, State of Nuevo León
1982
Montalbán House
Villa
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Los Angeles, State of California, USA
1983
Dance School
Educational
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Realization unknown
Location unknown
1983–1985
Barragán Retrospective
Exhibition design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City
1984–1987
Los Palos Grandes
Villa; renovation
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Realization unknown
Caracas, Venezuela
1984–1985
Caballero House
Villa
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Gómez Palacio, State of Durango
1984–1987
Menil Guesthouse
Mixed-use residence
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Houston, State of Texas, USA
1984–1985
Sumner Peck
Urban design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Madera, State of California, USA
1984
Morrissey House
Villa
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Unbuilt
Southampton, State of New York, USA
1984–1986
Monterrey and Butaca Chairs
Furniture design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
1985–1986
Carver
Mixed-use complex
Project by Barragán + Ferrera; collaborating engineers: Morse Consulting Group
Unbuilt
Palm Desert, State of California, USA
1986
Chick’n Taco
Retail
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Realization unknown
Location unknown
1986–1987
Borja House
Villa
Project by Barragán + Ferrera; collaborating architect: Ángel Borja Navarrete
Realization unknown
Mexico City
1987
Toro de Bronce Fountain
Landscape design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera; sculpture by Juan Soriano
Villahermosa, State of Tabasco
1987
Gibert Penthouse
Interior design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
Realization unknown
Mexico City
1987–1994
Bel-Air Divertimento
Landscape design
Project by Barragán + Ferrera
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