Wednesday, June 19, 2024

San Miguel de Allende has one ‘starchitect’ home…and it’s for sale

The city of San Miguel de Allende — a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site — is a treasure trove of 16th and 17th century Spanish Colonial architecture, adored by both the Mexican Nationals and foreigners who call this city home. But among these architectural treasures, few residents could name a single architect for their design.

However, San Miguel de Allende does host one singular “starchitect” home whose architect is known worldwide.

Casa Legorreta in San Miguel de Allende
The courtyard of Casa Legorreta best exemplifies Legorreta’s trademark design style.

Casa Legorreta, named for the late iconic Mexican modernist master Ricardo Legorreta—the first Latin architect to ever receive the AIA’s top-level award, the Gold Medal—was only completed in 2005 in the historic part of Centro on Calle Aldama, named in 2022 by Architectural Digest as the 11th prettiest street in the world.

Though Mexico City-based Legorreta designed dozens of homes in Mexico City, Valle de Bravo and Monterrey, somehow San Miguel did not make his radar until 2002 when fans of his style hired him to design their home.

The homeowners, a quiet British couple who prefer to avoid the spotlight, kept their design masterpiece a bit of a secret until recently, when they hired Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to market the home for sale.

That agency subsequently was able to garner publicity for the home to date in the Wall St. Journal, Mansion Global, and Dirt, visually opening the home to the public and giving regional exposure to a previously well-kept secret.

Casa Legorreta San Miguel de Allende
Dual dining rooms adjoin—indoor and outdoor—each with a wood-burning fireplace, adorned with plates bearing a Legorreta design.

In contrast, Legorreta’s design for Hollywood producer Joel Silver, on the market for US $52M according to the Wall St. Journal, has enjoyed wide publicity since construction. Even Legorreta’s 1985 design for late actor Ricardo Montalbán in Hollywood garnered substantial publicity in 2012 when it sold for US $38M. 

True architectural aficionados like Silver—who also owns homes by Frank Lloyd Wright—realize that these architectural masterpieces are rare jewels that seldom come to market.

Casa Legorreta boasts the expected design imprint and indigenous craftsmanship familiar to Legorreta’s style, all delicately balanced between austerity and generosity: striated colonnade walls carved from solid and void, casting striking shadow-and-light patterns; water stairs creating gentle waterscaping white sound throughout the home; the use of wall as sculpture; warm textures and colors with natural materials like terracotta, wood and split-face stone; and the counterbalance of concrete spheres around the grounds.

Casa Legorreta’s courtyard and gardens clearly reflect the Latin American tendency to safeguard private space—all outdoor spaces are completely private from neighboring residences.

Casa Legorreta San Miguel de Allende
Massive sliding doors open the living room to the rear veranda, promoting the indoor-outdoor lifestyle so popular in San Miguel de Allende.

While attributed primarily to Ricardo, the senior Legorreta was in fact working with his son Victor by that time and the two worked together on many projects before the senior Legorreta passed away in 2011.

“The San Miguel residence was truly a collaboration between my father and myself,” says Victor Legorreta, who maintains a warm relationship with the owners to this day. In fact, Victor oversaw the recent renovation of a stairwell railing to ensure it kept the Legorreta design theme consistent.

Victor sees a lot more of San Miguel these days as the lead designer for the city’s two Marriott projects, the soon-to-open Clevia and the in-progress La Pilarica mixed-use project.

While San Miguel de Allende has enjoyed many accolades that continue to roll in—the city was once again recently named #1 Small City in the Worlds for the 5th time by Condé Nast Traveler—it is now also known as home to the only “starchitect” listing in the Bajío region of Mexico.

Greg Gunter, realtor Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Listing agent and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Broker Greg Gunter shows the Parroquia view from the roof terrace of Casa Legorreta.

Design fans can see photos and virtual tours of the home on the listing site.

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