29.09.2023 - 07.04.2024, Barragán Gallery, Vitra Schaudepot, Weil-am-Rhein

Photograph exhibition from the workshop Appropriate Barragán, led by Bas Princen

As part of a partnership formed in 2022 between the Vitra Design Museum and the Barragan Foundation, the archive of Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902-1988) was transferred to new premises at the Vitra Schaudepot. This move was accompanied by the creation of the Barragán Gallery, a public exhibition space that offers insights into the architect’s life and work. From September 29, 2023, to April 7, 2024, a new presentation at the gallery showcases photographs made by students from the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève) and the CENTRO School of Design, Film, and Digital Media in Mexico City. The images were produced as part of the joint workshop Appropriate Barragán, led by photographer Bas Princen.

Luis Barragán’s architecture has gained wide renown, due in no small part to the circulation of a limited number of carefully selected photographs. These photographs, realized by Armando Salas Portugal in close collaboration with the architect, have created a particular perception of Barragán’s work. They attach a distinctive aura to Barragán’s spaces and contribute to their iconic status by emphasizing characteristics such as light, color, and form. One could even postulate that Barragán designed spaces with the eyes of his photographer in mind.

The workshop Appropriate Barragán, led by Bas Princen in the summer of 2022, brought together design students from HEAD – Genève and CENTRO Mexico City in a joint project to experience, analyze, and interpret major architectural works by Luis Barragán through the medium of photography. They captured some unexpected views of two well-known buildings, the Barragán House and the Prieto López House (also known as Casa Pedregal), producing distinctive visual impressions of intimacy, space, lighting, architectural details, and traces of habitation.

Research for the trip commenced with a visit to the Barragán Gallery in Weil am Rhein, along with an introduction to the architect’s collection of photographs, which is preserved in the Barragán Archive. At the conclusion of the workshop in Mexico City, the students collectively created a unified presentation of their studies, with each student proposing a selection of images to be displayed in specific dimensions. This setting is replicated in the exhibition of the respective works in the Barragán Gallery.

This exhibition is part of the initiative to open the Barragán Archive for research and collaborations, which will be continued in the coming years.


Vitra Design Museum:
Martin Josephy, Curator Barragán Archive
Susanne Graner, Head of Collection & Archive
Stefani Fricker, Team Leader Exhibition Design & Development
Thorsten Romanus, Exhibition Design

HEAD – Genève:
Dr Javier F. Contreras, Head of the Department of Interior Architecture
Bas Princen, Workshop Leader
Damien Greder, Teaching Assistant
Special thanks to Jean-Pierre Greff, Director HEAD – Genève 2007–2022

CENTRO Mexico City:
Dr Miquel Adrià, Director of the School of Architecture
Veronica Garcia Santamarina Vite, Coordinator


HEAD – Genève Students: Elsa Audouin, Ankita Das, Robin Delerce, Sonya Isupova, Thibault Krauer, Vilma Hubalek, Marileni Vourtsi
CENTRO Mexico City Students: Ana Suárez, Emiliano Reynoso, Pedro Felix, Yamilet Parra, Ma. Fernanda Chávez, Álvaro Morillo, Camila Segura, Vania Olivares, Ximena Castro, Ximena Urbina

Installation view of the presentation at the Barragán Gallery
© Vitra Design Museum, photo: Bettina Matthiessen
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023