Home > Controversy on Authorship> Research Background > Documentary Research and Interviews
For the development of the present research, several government offices and institutions that possibly held archives and/or relevant information for the documentation of the history of the Workshop-Dormitory were visited or otherwise contacted. These are: the historical collection of the Municipal Archive of Guadalajara, the Historical Archive and the Public Registry of Property and Commerce, both part of the State Archive of Jalisco, the ancient newspaper collection of the Juan José Arreola Public Library of the State of Jalisco, the Cadaster of Guadalajara, the newspaper collection of El Informador journal, the Direction of Public Works of the Municipality of Guadalajara, the Secretary of Culture of the State of Jalisco, including the Rafael Urzúa Archive, located at the El Patio de los Ángeles Cultural Compound, the library of Casa Luis Barragán and Barragán Foundation. To present the process that preceded this publication, as well as to recognize the labor of institutions and individuals who strive for the safekeeping of the historical registry of the city, a brief review of what was found in each one of these offices will be made below.
– A visit was made to the Municipal Archive of Guadalajara, where a revision of the filed construction permits was carried out. This Archive contains registers of permits starting in January of 1937. Although some interviewees assured having consulted the permit floorplan of the Workshop-Dormitory at the Archive, it was not possible to locate said plan nor any other document regarding the property. The research encompassed files from 1937 to 1941. This leads to two possible conclusions: the first, that the permit floorplan and construction permit were misplaced, or the second, that it is not part of the archive because it dates from before the first registered and filed construction permit.
However, the review of this archive succeeded to retrieve documents of a certain relevance: the building permits of four properties located on the same block as Workshop-Dormitory. These permits belong to the house at 818 López Cotilla St (neighboring the Workshop-Dormitory), designed by engineer Juan Jiménez Romo in 1937, the house at 139/141 Camarena St, designed by engineer Carlos Ugarte in 1938, the Hotel del Parque, at 845 Juárez Avenue, projected by engineer Juan José Barragán in 1939, and the three houses at 125, 129 and 133 Camarena St, designed by engineer Filiberto López Aranda in 1939. This indicates that the lapse during which the block was built does match the estimated date of construction for the Workshop-Dormitory. At the end of this section, the reviewed licenses, along with a table for its rapid consultation, are available for download, intending to put them within the reach of the reader, as well as of underlining the archive’s historical value.
– The Secretary of Infrastructure and Public Works of the State of Jalisco answered a request for information, stating that it does not hold any documentation related to the topic at hand.
– At the Archive of the State of Jalisco, the Historical Archive and the Public Registry of Property and Commerce were visited. The search at the former’s map collection attained content that, while not directly related to the main topic of this research, is still relevant for the understanding of the historical process that preceded the construction of the Workshop-Dormitory, its urban context and, generally, the history and immovable heritage of the city of Guadalajara. To facilitate the access to said material for the reader, a table with the description and label of the reviewed documents is attached at the end of this text.
At the Public Registry of Property, the historical record of the property’s titles was found. These will be treated with confidentiality, as they are considered legal documents, and will not be attached for download. For the concerns of this investigation, it suffices to take notice of the dates when José Clemente Orozco and Margarita Valladares acquired the property and sold the Workshop-Dormitory: October 22, 1937, and November 7, 1939, respectively. The reviewed information seems to confirm what is stated in the research. In addition, the property deed through which the State of Jalisco bought the Preparatory School of Jalisco, inscribed on August 14, 1933, was also found. The reader can consult this document at the end of this text. The relevance of said deed is further developed in The Terrain section.
– The historical newspaper collection of El Informador was searched, and its records ranging from 1934 to 1939 were reviewed. The results included notes of the travels of Luis Barragán to Mexico City in 1934, his visits to Guadalajara as of April 1935, Orozco´s visits to Mexico City during his stay in Guadalajara, social events attended by them, the competition, construction and inauguration of the Revolution Park, expositions that included José Clemente Orozco’s works, and the mural paintings of said artist in this city.
– At the Cadaster Office of the Municipality of Guadalajara, the cadastral record of the property was obtained, as well as its account number and cadastral key. As expected, no information regarding the authorship of the house was found. However, the names of previous owners, as well as the dates when ownership changed, were located. To respect the privacy of the people involved, this information will be kept in strict confidentiality.
– In response to information requests directed to the Secretary of Culture of Jalisco, the heritage inventory file of the property, and, later, the update of said file, were obtained. The Essential Architectural Guide: Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, published by the aforementioned Secretary, was also reviewed. This guide, published for the first time in 2005, states Luis Barragán as the author of the Clemente Orozco House, in the file made by Juan Palomar Verea.
On the other side, the first heritage inventory file, with an issue date of October 8, 2018, also mentions Luis Barragán as the author of the Workshop-Dormitory. It is important to take notice that this file contains several inaccuracies: it indicates that the property is located at the Revolución Universidad neighborhood when it is located in the present-date Colonia Americana and that the current use is residential when it is dedicated to services. In addition, it also gives a two-decade window for the construction date: 1940 to 1960, and it classifies it as a functionalist building, where it would be more exact to give it the broader classification of modernist.
In the update of this file, issued on February 5, 2019, several items were corrected: the author entry reads Luis Barragán in co-authorship with José Clemente Orozco, the date, 1937 and 1938, and current use, Services. An official letter attached to the file sheet indicates the Barragán Guide, by Ilaria Valente and Federica Zanco, and Luis Barragán. Búsqueda y creatividad, by Louise Noelle, as the reviewed literature for the making of said file sheet (see The Different Positions). However, when these sources were consulted, it was found that they do not back up what is mentioned in the inventory file.
The Rafael Urzúa Archive, safeguarded by the Direction of Cultural Heritage of the aforementioned Secretary, and located at the compound of the Patio de los Ángeles Cultural Center was also searched. Since Urzúa was close to Orozco, he might have minded the advances in construction. When retrieving information, it was thought that a floorplan or perhaps a letter written by Orozco or Barragán, which might shed some light on the topic, was likely to be found. However, no documents related to the topic of this research were found.
– During a visit to Casa Luis Barragán, in Mexico City, kindly arranged by architect Juan Palomar Verea, two letters sent by Orozco to Luis Barragán were consulted. However, neither of them mentions any information of relevance for the topic of this research. It is worth noting that the library of Luis Barragán, located in this building, contains ten titles about the work of José Clemente Orozco. Architect Adriana Garrido, who contributed valuable help for this part of the investigation, provided a list of these books. Amongst these titles is the catalogue J.C. Orozco, with an introduction by Alma Reed, published in New York by Delphic Studios in 1932. This catalogue contains many of the prints made by Orozco during his stay in New York, amongst which his exercises on the abstraction of Mexican popular architecture stand out. These doubtlessly were an important influence on Luis Barragán´s mature work.
– The Barragán Foundation answered a request to access material from the Barragán Archives that could be useful to the present research. The answer stated that the Archives do not include plans, drawings, correspondence nor any reference that might confirm the authorship of Luis Barragán of the Workshop-Dormitory at López Cotilla St. However, it was mentioned that a total or partial intervention by Barragán is not be discarded, even though it has not been possible, to the present date, to define the possible role of the architect in the design of the Workshop-Dormitory.
– Finally, there was an intention of visiting the archives of engineer Ignacio Díaz Morales and photographer Juan Víctor Arauz. Relevant information or documents could likely be located at the archives; however, such visit was not possible due to the remodeling of the library of the Western Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESO), institution in charge of safekeeping of these archives.
The visits and information requests to archives and offices are an essential part of this research. Documents containing fundamental information for the recording of the house’s history and providing clues of great importance for setting the course of the research were located.
In addition to the documentary research, people, who might be able to contribute with some knowledge on the Workshop-Dormitory and the characters that were possibly involved in its materialization, granted interviews. Amongst the interviewed people were family members of José Clemente Orozco, who agreed to talk and make some comments about the project and the life of the muralist, including his friendship with Luis Barragán. Talks were held with Clemente and Lucrecia Orozco Valladares, son and daughter of the painter, and Clarisa Orozco, his granddaughter. Josefina Martínez, the niece of Jorge Martínez, a painter who served as Orozco´s helper during the making of his murals at Guadalajara, also granted an interview. Said talks brought the opportunity to give the life and vision of the painter a closer look.
Furthermore, experts on Orozco’s and Barragán’s life and works granted interviews and insights. These were: architect Mónica del Arenal, architect Miguel Adriá, journalist and writer Juan José Doñán, architect Juan Lazagorta Vallín, professor Ernesto Lumbreras, doctor Claudia Rueda, architect Alejandro Canales Daroca, former director of the School of Conservation and Restoration of the West (ECRO) and expert on local architecture, architect Agustín Elizalde Urzúa, grandson of Rafael Urzúa who dedicates a part of his time to the study and diffusion of his grandfather’s oeuvre, architect David Lozano, creator of the project MoMoGDL, dedicated to the promotion of modernist Tapatío work, doctor Ana Lucía González Ibáñez, investigator on topics of built heritage, doctor Manuel Prieto González, professor-investigator of the Faculty of Architecture of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL) and doctor Luis Ignacio Gómez Arriola, consultant of research, management and preservation of cultural heritage. These experts brought a multitude of points of view, essential for the achievement of a comprehensive research that takes up arguments, if sometimes contrary, in an effort to get closer to the truth.
Annex I: Construction permits 1937-1941
Annex II: Annotated table of construction permits 1937-1941
Annex III: table of contents of the map collection of the Historical Archive of the State of Jalisco.
Anexo IV: Escritura por medio de la cual el Gobierno del Estado de Jalisco adquiere la finca correspondiente a la Escuela Preparatoria de Jalisco (Registro Público de la Propiedad Inscripción número 151, páginas 209, 210, 211 y 212 del libro 111, de la sección primera, de la Segunda Oficina.) Preparatoria de Jalisco y transcripción.
Annex V: Decree 3840 enabling the acquisition of the building of the Preparatory School of Jalisco.
Annex VI: Immovable heritage inventory files of the property at 814 López Cotilla St.
Annex VII: List of titles on Orozco's work in the library of Casa Luis Barragán.