the air is still blue

I had borrowed a book, “the air is blue – Insights on art & architecture: LUIS BARRAGAN REVISITED” and kept it for months, going through it randomly at the beginning over a few days. Then it sat under a pile of other books for a while until I was reminded to return it. I read through it again, this time thoroughly in a day and it motivated me to finally start a new blog on architecture – or rather a blog on my mild and erratic musings on architectural related subjects, from books to buildings, from architects to design details.

Edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Pedro Reyes, “the air is blue/el aire es azul” floats me away to a celebratory year-long research party with a multi-nationally diverse group of architects, photographers, artists and writers, all staged in Barragan’s autobiographical abode and architectural idyll now preserved as the Casa Barragan Museum in Mexico City.

“The Laboratory year at the Casa Barragan is about how experiments, ideas and concepts work between art and architecture, how bridges can be built where we go beyond the fear of pooling knowledge.” [Obrist in his Prologue for the book]

Out of the many varied interventions that were documented for this volume, there are a few that intrigued me enough to make notes on::

  • “Barragan’s Jukebox” by Cerith Wyn Evans… where he reactivated old record players in all the rooms to “reanimate the house with sound” – from the thousands of records still stacked in cabinets throughout the house which have been all painstakingly catalogued – and thus reminding us that music was Barragan’s constant companion and to experience his house fully, one needs the sonic dimension to flow through the spaces as much as the light and colour.
  • “Forgetting Barragan” by Pablo Leon de la Barra… a personal account of his intimacy with the Casa Barragan when he volunteered as an assistant to the director of the House-Museum as it was being refurbished in 1995. The spirit of the house imbued him with deep knowledge of the architect he has never met and yet this strong connection would later nullify his obsession as he tries to forget Barragan completely.
  • “A Project for the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona” by Inaki Bonillas…whereupon a very simple gesture of “imposition” in one iconic structure [within Casa Barragan] would ripple over to an installation within the most iconic of modernist monuments, the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion [which I had the utmost pleasure to experience during a visit to Barcelona last year – and where the header image for this blog is derived].

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