Casa Victor Legorreta, Avándaro, Mexico

Casa Victor Legorreta

This striking house sits on a hillside overlooking the lake of Avándaro, a popular retreat for Mexico City residents escaping the sumer heat, located just a couple of hours west of the city. Victor is the son of legendary Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, and a long time partner in the international architectural firm Legorreta.

The exteriors of this house exude the earthy render finishes and colours typical of the Legorreta style, and with the austere geometrical forms and spread out layout, are somewhat redolent of a monastery. The surrounding stone terracing and lush garden impart a tranquillity reflecting the natural surroundings of dense trees.

The interiors continue the monastic atmosphere, with a cavernous barrel vaulted living room, with oversized walls allowing for spacious windows openings deep enough to allow clusters of people to sit there confortably on cushions.

Minimalist and essential yet luxurious, with careful placement of window openings to allow the sun to filter through, shaping and illuminating the natural light falling on the painted wall render or exposed brick of the interior walls. The interconnected geometrically shaped rooms are painted in complementary tones, and the rooms themselves are sparsely decorated with just essential an d comfortable furnishings. The building exudes a captivating mix of a contemporary feel mingled with austere monastic, punctuated by the vibrant colours, the use of fountains and water features, sun filled hallways and intimate patios.

I met Ricardo Legorreta (1931-2011) in his Mexico City offices in 2004, and had a wonderful morning discussing photography and the influences upon his architectural style, which ranged from religious buildings in Mexico, to the natural world, modern art and of course the legacy of Luis Bárragan. Ricardo particularly liked my rigorous adherence to natural light in my photography, eschewing the use of additional lighting (even if back then camera sensors and digital editing were in their infancy and offered none of the advantages we now take for granted). He even noted that he wouldn’t want me to photograph anything of his work if I did use additional lights! His whole aesthetic was to work around light in his architecture, and of course wouldn’t want this to be compromised.