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Mexican and Modern - but the gloves are off

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A few points in response to Stephen Greenberg's Barragan's exhibition review (AJ 22.3.01).

Barragan did not spend two 'formative years' in Europe. He came twice to Europe. There is a difference.

There is an undeniable influence of the mainstream Modern movement in Barragan's work, in fact, his production between his early work and his late works was plain Modern movement.

The mixture of Modern movement parameters and local influences forms part of the work of Tadao Ando or Alvaro Siza, among others, and could be described in the same lines used by Greenberg to dismiss Barragan's work.

Light and 'a few rolls of HP4 film' are any architect's best friends. To argue that those were the two factors or Barragan's success is, I believe, deeply ignorant, for someone pretending to write an informed review.

As a Mexican myself, I cannot miss the country's heritage in Barragan's work, but then again, I have the advantage of knowing Mexico. Greenberg does not.

And by they way, I do not belong to 'Barragan's Mexico', as much as I would like to, and this does not prevent me for appreciating his buildings.

There are no 'Gauchos' in Mexico.

I met Barragan a couple of years before his death in 1988, and failed to see any servant in white gloves.

F G Calzada, Thomas Croft Architects, London W10

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