Casa Gilardi is the last private home designed by renowned Mexican architect Luis Barragán in Mexico City. The house was built between 1975-1978 and is still owned by the original family who commissioned Barragán to build it. During our trip to Mexico City in March we visited this special house.
To visit Casa Gilardi you must make a reservation by email or phone. I emailed about 2 months in advance to make an appointment to visit. This is a privately owned home and the owners still live there. They are incredibly gracious to allow visitors into their home to see this important work by one of Mexico’s most important architects. Information on how to visit the home can be found on the website here. Prior to our visit I researched online to see what the visit would be like but I had trouble finding anything other than photos of the house. So this little photo tour will also include plenty of useful information.
Admission to Casa Gilardi is $300 MXN per person (cash only), plus an additional $500 MXN is you want to take photos. Only cell phone photos are allowed. The admission fee may seem steep, especially compared to other entrance fees for museums are the city. However, this is not a museum, this is someone’s private home. The money supports the family who open up their home to the public and helps to keep the house in good shape. Many of the private homes that Barragán designed have fallen into disrepair so the fact that this one is open to the public and is in such good shape is amazing. I felt the admission fee was well worth it an I really enjoyed our visit.
Punctuality is important and it’s good to be a bit early for your time slot. We booked for 10am and arrived fairly early so we walked around the neighbourhood and returned to the entrance 5 minutes early. The whole process is a little confusing since unlike a museum there are no signs. Basically you just wait until the owner’s son comes to the door to let everyone in. There were about 15 other people visiting the house at the same time as us and I was a little concerned at first that it would be hard to get the photos I wanted. However, after a brief talk from the owner’s son who goes over the rules and goes a little interesting background on the house and Luis Barragán, you’re free to explore the house at your own pace (certain rooms are off limits since the family lives there). The owner’s son is also an architect so he provided some really nice perspective and history of the house that really helped me appreciate it more when exploring.
All the visitors dispersed pretty quickly so I had no issues getting photos without people. However, talking to the owner’s son later he said that usually they have more people visiting at the same time (March is peak season for tourism in Mexico City) but due to the coronavirus pandemic there’s been a slowing in tourism so there were fewer people than usual.
I really enjoyed being able to explore the house at my own pace and return to areas a few times to get more photos. The house has so many interesting architecture details. The pool with the amazing light beam is probably the most unique feature of the house. We were lucky that we happened to visit in the morning when the light effect is perfect, so definitely try to visit at 10am if you can to see this cool light affect.
Another interesting feature of the house is the large jacaranda tree in the garden. Unfortunately it’s a late blooming one so when we visited in mid-March it was just starting to flower but wasn’t full compared to other trees in the city.
If you’re interested in modern architecture then definitely try to check out Casa Gilardi while in Mexico City. If you can’t get an appointment to visit but still want to see some of Luis Barragán’s work you can visit the Casa Luis Barragán, the architect’s own home and studio that’s not far from Casa Gilardi. There they have tours in English and Spanish, but you should book online well in advance since they sell out.
We really enjoyed our visit to Casa Gilardi and actually had a lot of fun. It was probably one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences we had in Mexico City. We really appreciated the owner’s generosity by allowing visitors and we were sure to thank them for their time. I got the sense that not everyone who visits bothers to say thank you so if you go make sure to say a kind word.