February 26, 2024

The students who graduated from ITESO in the late 1990s – “a brilliant generation” as Ortiz calls them – have again turned the Tapatío School outward, referring to a century of influences without committing them to be. Notable among these architects is Alejandro Guerrero, who founded Atelier Ars in 2006. For his wife Andrea Soto (33), who joined as a partner in 2011, Barragán is primarily characterized by the use of boundaries to create space. She and Guerrero took a similar approach with their 4,198-square-foot home with seven patios, a 2011 renovation of a nondescript, ranch-like house from the 1980s, also in Colonia Seattle. The architects kept what they could with the original 3,200-square-foot building, adding a glass and steel pavilion that extends into a lush sub-tropical garden. Next to the structure, a staircase folded from a long sheet of steel rises steeply between two white plastered walls that are barely a meter apart. The claustrophobic proportions force the eye up to a point where the steps end in a window with no glass, a void that frames a patch of sky. The whole house is an act of bricolage, from the surrealistic staircase to the mud wall dripping with ferns over the neighboring property. “Modern architecture throws elements off to make something abstract,” says Guerrero. By including such elements, you “connect to a story”.

Another pair of graduates from ITESO and Guerrero’s rough contemporaries, Salvador Macías Corona (43) and Magui Peredo Arenas (41), use different techniques to connect with the history of their city, often through work that seems weak at first glance His ancestors are connected to them. Rather than covering exterior surfaces with plaster of paris or stucco (surfaces known as enjarre in Guadalajara, a term derived from the Spanish words for “handle” and “jug”), Macías and Peredo are often used to let, like their counterparts in Mexico City exposed the bricks and concrete of its outer walls. The architects look not only at the Yucatán peninsula and northern Portugal – places where they resonate with the sensitivity of the Tapatío – but also at the Japanese craftsmanship and the monumentalism of São Paulo, where “architecture is practically infrastructure,” says Peredo .

All these traditions shape the recently completed Casa GZJZ, the exterior of which consists almost entirely of exposed bricks. But the house for a family of four is also unmistakably Tapatío: each of these bricks has been individually dipped in putty-colored cement, a handcrafted finish on an industrial material. The wooden boards of a staircase are hidden between massive brackets made of light pink stucco, which fall like a monolithic sculpture in the middle of a gallery on the 6,458 square meter ground floor. From the outside, the sloping roof lines of the two rectangular volumes resemble, as Macías puts it, “a granary or a refined ranch” – an everyday slang that, like Zohn’s market, is permeated with a spirit of enchantment.

The latest generation of Tapatío architects – most of them in their thirties, including many ex-students from Ortiz and Aldrete, Guerrero and Gutierrez, Macías and Peredo – have grown up in a city that is more cosmopolitan than its predecessors. Guadalajara’s cultural scene is thriving, with galleries, restaurants, artist studios, and design shops that nestle behind nondescript facades or open onto tree-lined streets in the same colonies where Castellanos and Barragán built their earliest homes. Designers and makers who settled in the capital or abroad 15 years ago have come home to work with artisans and craftsmen in the area. The city’s unruly conservatism has begun to relax, although its intimate, slower lifestyle remains intact.

Tradition still has its place here, of course, but so does the subtle disrespect introduced by these contemporary architects. Think, for example, of Casa RC1, which was designed in 2018 by 35-year-old architect Saúl Figueroa for a family of five in the leafy suburb of Rancho Contento. The guidelines for community building require angled roofs with terracotta tiles, hollow gestures compared to conventional forms, which Figueroa both respects and undermines: By turning the sloping roof inward, it hides its surface from direct view and transforms the exterior facing the street into sand-colored stucco a flat plane, like a cube drawn on a piece of paper. The main entrance opens through a narrow terrace into a cedar-paneled foyer that smells of resin wood. On the other side there is a glass door that leads to the internal terrace of the house. Surrounded by greenery, the space resembles a transparent pergola, a space delimited by a garden rather than a walled garden.