Ricardo Legorreta


Born in Mexico City on May 7th, 1931
Dies in Mexico City on December the 30th, 2011.

1948 – 1955
Draftsman and Project Manager with Jose Villagran Garcia.

1955 – 1960
Partnership with Jose Villagran Garcia. 

1961 – 1965
Free-lance activities.

1965 - 2011
Founder partner of Legorreta Arquitectos, now LEGORRETA®.

He completed his professional studies at the National School of Architecture of UNAM, where he graduated in 1952.
His professional work began in 1948 in the office of the architect José Villagrán, where he collaborated as a draftsman to eventually become Project Manager and in 1955 as Partner. From 1961 to 1963 he dedicated himself to free professional activity and in 1964 he founded Legorreta Arquitectos together with Noé Castro and Carlos Vargas Senior.
Ricardo Legorreta excelled at interpreting the architectural style of buildings of Mexican origin: vibrant colors, geometric shapes, fountains, light-filled spaces and intimate patios with hallmarks of his style.
He had a career spanning over fifty years and designed over 100 projects ranging from museums and hotels to office buildings and factories, university campuses, urban spaces, as well as private residences in Mexico and abroad.
His work includes influences from the colonial period of Mexico and the Islamic world -the patios-. It was also influenced by the monumental architecture of Louis Kahn.
One of his first buildings - the Hotel Camino Real in Mexico City (1968) - was one of his favorites because he said it helped him discover his Mexican roots. He had been very ill and during his recovery he created a building that is now one of his most famous works.
Legorreta continued his work with the design of the Montalbán House in Los Angeles (1985), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey (1991), the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua (1993), Pershing Square in Los Angeles (1993), the Centras Library of San Antonio Texas (1995), the Technological Museum of Innovation in San José California (1998), the Center for Visual Arts of Santa Fe University, New Mexico (1999), the Juárez Complex in Mexico City (2003-2005 ), the Carnegie Mellon University of Business and Computer Science in Qatar (2011), and many other public and private urban buildings and spaces.
Legorreta was an artist and designer in tune with the environment and never forgot to design buildings for the people who use them.
In 1999 he received the Gold Medal from the International Union of Architects (UIA) and in 2000, he became the first Latin American to receive the prodigious Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), for being an architect whose work it has had a lasting influence on the history and practice of architecture. He is the only Mexican who has received the prestigious Praemium Imperiale awarded by the Japan Art Association (2011).

He lectures at the most important universities in Mexico, Canada, Spain, Guatemala, Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Chile, Japan, Nicaragua, England, Austria, France, Israel, Korea, Bulgaria, Italy and in more than 30 Universities in the USA.

He teaches a course at the University of California, USA. in collaboration with Charles Moore.

The UNAM designates his workshop as the official place for students to fulfill social service.

Head of the Experimental Group of UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico.

Professor at the National School of Architecture, UNAM.
  • Honoris Causa Recognition at UNAM, Mexico City
  • Recognition by Mexico City's Government, Mexico
  • Praemium Imperiale. Tokio, Japan
  • National Architecture Award. Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Beethoven Award for Architectural Creativity in the Americas.
  • Anahuac Medal in Architecture, Universidad Anáhuac.
  • International Award by the Society of Registered American Architects SANA
  • Gold Medal, Panamerican Federation of Associations of Architects.
  • Honoris Causa Doctorate, Roger Williams University, Bristol, USA
  • Manuel Tolsá Medal, UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico
  • ARPAFIL Tribute (Art, Architecture and Heritage), Guadalajara, Jalisco
  • Recognition by the Federation and the College of Architects Cancún A.C. Degree of Doctor of Human Letters from the Colegio de Santa Fe, E.U.A.
  • Imposition of the Commission of Isabel la Católica from the Spanish Government.
  • “CEMEX Works Award”, 1st Cemex Life and Work Award.
  • “César Balsa” Tourism Professional Merit Medal, Mexico City.
  • Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
  • Gold Plate by the Academy of Achievement, Arizona, USA.
  • Gold Medal, International Union of Architects (UIA).
  • "Emeritus Creator of the National System of Creators", Mexico.
  • "Architect of the Americas" Award, Montevideo, Uruguay
  • National Prize of Arts by the Mexican Government.
  • Named among the 30 Leading Architects by the Domino’s Architecture Program, U.S.A.
  • Senior Academician of the International Academy of Architecture, Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • Full Member of the Academia de Artes México.
• Miembro del Jurado “El Corazón de Doha”. Qatar.
• Miembro del Jurado Concurso de Diseño Arquitectónico para la Corte Criminal Internacional, Holanda.

• Miembro del Jurado del Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes. México.
• Miembro del Jurado del AIA Architecture Firm Award.

• Miembro del Jurado del AIA Gold Medal.

• Miembro del Jurado del Concurso para la Nueva Biblioteca Pública del Estado de Jalisco, México.

• Miembro del Jurado de los Premios de Diseño de Dallas (AIA), E.U.A.

• Miembro del Jurado del Concurso de Elegancia en Pebble Beach, E.U.A.

• Miembro del Jurado Maestro del premio Aga Khan para la Arquitectura, Ginebra, Suiza.

1983 – 1993
• Miembro del Jurado del Premio Pritzker de Arquitectura.