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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Three influential professionals influencing the architecture of today

With Hispanic Heritage Month getting started, today, the Architrends blog pays tribute to the incredible Hispanic professionals who have had an impact on the field of architecture.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: 3 influential professionals influencing the architecture of today

Ricardo Legorreta

Ricardo Legorreta passed away at the age of 80 in December 2012, leaving behind a legacy of modern design that was influenced by the architecture of Mexico. Legorreta received the 2000 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal and also Japan’s Praemium Imperiale arts prize. Per Architectural Digest,

A protégé of the great Mexican modernist Luis Barragán, Legorreta founded his own studio in 1964. His son Victor joined the firm in the early ’90s, and in 2000 it became Legorreta + Legorreta. Among the numerous commercial, cultural, and institutional projects Legorreta designed around the world, perhaps the most famous are Pershing Square in Los Angeles (1993), which has a 125-foot-tall purple bell tower as its focal point; the massive, enchilada-red San Antonio Central Library (1995); and the Camino Real Hotel in Mexico City (1968), whose entry court features a screen wall painted hot pink. Defined by an emphasis on light and space and a connection to the earth, Legorreta’s compounded sculptural forms and enclosures were nearly always integrated with vegetation and water.

Tatiana Bilbao

Blazing a trail for female architects in Mexico, Tatiana Bilbao’s practice focuses on sustainable design and social housing.

Until recently, female architects in Mexico have struggled with independent success, unable to run practices without a male counterpart. Per Dezeen, Bilbao was taking part in her father’s practice early on in her career, participating in shows as a token female on the team, but eventually used her opportunities to gain status on her own. Her socially conscious approach early on in her career garnered acclaim while she worked to strengthen her community. Per Wikipedia,

Bilbao’s work was influenced by her political interest in Mexico City. In 1985 the government was faced with a great need for housing after a major earthquake. This caused the government to make mass-produced housing with over 2.5 million houses being built in the course of six years. Bilbao hated seeing developers take land and the identity of Mexico. So Bilbao met with architects and Infonavit, the federally owned bank that grants massive housing loans, to start reconvening new city centers and creating satellite urban environments. As Bilbao became more influential different configurations of houses were designed with high resale value. Bilbao then started designing housing for under 8k for the lower-class which led to her focus on social housing.

Luis Barragán

Luis Barragán was a Guadalajara-born architect and engineer who passed away in 1988. His work, known for modern, colorful designs, is influential among many contemporary architects today. He Won the Pritzker prize in 1980, and his personal home, now a museum exhibiting his work, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Per STIR,

…he designed buildings imbibing the characteristic, straight, clean lines of the Modernist movement, often using raw materials such as stone and wood. Bright shades of yellow and pink dominated most of his works, breathing life and personality into his structures. Unifying this with a purposeful and dramatic use of natural and artificial light made his volumetric forms sing in understated tones.

This is just a small sample of amazing architects from a large, influential group. Are there any noteworthy architects of Hispanic origin that have influenced your work today? Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram and share your thoughts. For a deeper dive, join AIA’s Latinos in Architecture Symposium: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage – Architecture, Art, Cuisine, Music events starting on September 29.

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