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At Home in the 20th Century
Catalina Corcuera Cabezut on Casa Luis Barragán
Mexico City-based Catalina Corcuera Cabezut studied fundraising and institutional development, becoming part of the Fundación de Arquitectura Tapatía Luis Barragán in 1994 where she designed a fundraising campaign for Barragán’s work.
In 2001, she became Director of Casa Luis Barragán. Catalina was a speaker at the Fifth International Iconic Houses Conference in New Canaan. Her lecture can be watched in the (below) link.
|‘My house is my refuge’: Luis Barragán’s House and Studio After the Earthquake|
Where did you work before the Barragán foundation?
I worked as a fundraiser specializing in art and culture on two projects, a music conservatory and a theater company. The experience was very important for my present job, which has been one of the most creative and challenging roles I have had.
How did you come to be director of the Casa Luis Barragán?
I started working at the house in 1995 as a Director of Development, in 2002, the members of the Foundation asked me to become Director, with an architect specialized in conservation and restoration as my deputy. This is the way we have been working ever since.
What’s your proudest achievement at the house?
Seeing it inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in 2004. This has meant more visitors - last year we had 17,000, which is our maximum because of conservation issues. We started out with 5,000 per year. The Unesco inscription also means that
the Barragán House privileges is now seen by the general public as one of the most important houses of the 20th century, and that helps with fundraising.
Another proud moment was the publication of the book Luis Barragán, His House in 2011.
What tips do you have for other house museum directors?
I have met many house-museum directors and I generally find them excellent managers with great ideas. The only thing I would recommend is never to forget about the responsibility of taking care of a work of art.
What do you love most about Barragán’s house?
The light and the silence. I also love to see visitors’ faces when they step inside - they look so amazed and happy.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the house?
Keeping it in perfect condition, conserving it despite the constant earthquakes in Mexico City. Also being able to stay in good financial shape.
And the biggest opportunity?
Hopefully, we can add more of the architect’s works to the Casa Barragán project in the future. Some owners contacted the Foundation about preserving their homes should they sell, so the ideal plan is to gather the houses together in a single project.
What future plans do you have for the house?
A current goal is to complete the digitalization of the private archives of Luis Barragán and his art collection, in order to be able to open them to a wide public.
What has the house taught you?
From Casa Barragán I’ve learnt to respect 20th-century architecture, and to consider the preservation of house museums as one of the most important tasks of government, private owners and foundations.
Catalina recommends watching this video on the Casa Estudio Luis Barragán. Luis Barragan House and studio. as a warm up for the conference.
Photo: Catalina in Casa Estudio Luis Barragán (México-City, Mexico).
Publication date 20 March 2018