Born in Mexico City in 1901, José Villagrán García studied at the National School of Architecture, UNAM. He became a professor of Architectural Theory there in 1926 and remained so until 1982. He also directed the department from 1933 until 1935.
Widely considered the "Father of Modern Mexican Architecture," he designed and built the first work of "Functionalism." This was a Sanitary Installation in Popotla in 1925. He's also the author of the Theory of Architecture, published in 1963. His writings made him a pioneer, inspired both by Gaudet and Reynaud, and by the avant-garde of the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier.
Among his primary concerns was with hospital and school architecture. He completed the Hospitals for Tuberculosis in Huipulco, in 1929. Today, that's the Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias Ismael Cosío Villegas. It's a wonderful example of early functionalism.
Together with Dr. Salvador Zubirán, Villagrán organized the National Hospital Plan in 1942. The plan brought together Mexican architects to collaborate with the period's leading medical specialists. He also participated in the creation of the Administrative Committee of the Federal Program for the Construction of Schools, CAPFCE. Headed by the Secretary of Public Education, Jaime Torres Bodet, the committee collaborated in the Commission of Projection and Technical Planning with José Luis Cuevas, Mario Pani and Enrique Yánez. Villagrán then completed works such as the Costa Rica School in 1944. Later, he was in charge of designing multiple UNAM Preparatory Schools from 1963-1965. He also built numerous office buildings and cinemas. Las Américas, 1952, and Paseo, 1957, hotels, such as Alameda, and 1961, and María Isabel in 1962, in collaboration with Juan Sordo Madaleno and Ricardo Legorreta. He also completed renovations on the Mercado San Cosme and the Mercado San Lucas in 1954.
A National Arts Award winner in 1968, he was a Founding Member of the Mexican Academy of Arts.
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