Torres de Satélite / Satellite Towers by Luis Barragán

Architect: Luis Barragán
Sculptor (Plastic Artist): Mathias Goeritz
Collaborator: Jesus (Chucho) Reyes Ferreira (Painter)
Building engineer: Bernardo Quintana
Commissioned by: Miguel Alemán in 1956
Design: 1957
Construction: 1957-1958
Budget: $ 3,500,000 pesos
Structures material: polychrome reinforced concrete (painted)
Construction system: Wooden formwork for concrete filling
Composition: 5 triangular structures (prisms) of different heights and sizes
Colors used: Primary (red, blue, and yellow); Achromatic: (white)
Conception: Spiritual, emotional architecture, profile of the skyscraper as an emblem of urban modernity, poetic, abstract, geometric, plastic, symbolism, pictorial, sculptural, urban art, art in public space
Scale: Giant, Monumental, Colossal (The Satellite Towers, even at present, due to its great height, can be seen from numerous points of the city)
Style: Minimalism (Minimal Art)
Type: Abstract urban sculpture
Original name: Glorieta de las Cinco Torres
Alternative names: Satellite towers; Satellite Towers;
Satellite City Towers; Towers of the Satellite City
Location: Ciudad Satélite, Municipality of Naucalpan de Juárez, State of Mexico, Mexico

Much has been said about the authorship of the famous Torres de Satélite: Who was the real architect who first came up with the idea, and what provoked the great anger between its two main authors, the architect Luis Barragán, Pritzker Prize (Nobel of Architecture) in 1980, and the sculptor and plastic artist Mathias Goeritz. After hearing the statements of the prominent architect, sculptor and Mexican writer Fernando González Gortázar (*1942), who knew first-hand the versions of all three artists who conceived the work, Luis Barragán, Mathias Goeritz and Jesús (Chucho) Reyes Ferreira, - all of which would be incorporated later into the project -, a story that, why not say it, has enough fun (do not miss Gortazar's video at the bottom of this post), I would say that its design should be attributed to all three. The three met almost every day and spoke at length about the project of the monument, which would serve as the gateway to the new subdivision or development of Ciudad Satélite. For this reason, I believe that this beautiful urban sculpture of huge dimensions, a true icon of modern art of the 20th century and authentic urban landmark, could not have come into being without the collaboration of any of the three.
[Google translation of text at]

The Torres de Satélite ("Satellite Towers") are located in Ciudad Satélite, in the northern part of Naucalpan, Mexico. One of the country's first urban sculptures of great dimensions, had its planning started in 1957 with the ideas of renowned Mexican architect Luis Barragán, painter Jesús Reyes Ferreira and sculptor Mathias Goeritz. The project was originally planned to be composed of seven towers, with the tallest one reaching a height of 200 meters (about 650 feet),[citation needed] but a budget reduction forced the design to be composed of only five towers, with the tallest measuring 52 meters (170 feet) and the shortest 30 meters (98 feet).

Goeritz originally wanted the towers to be painted in different shades of orange, but changed his mind later due to some pressure from constructors and investors. It was finally decided the towers would be painted in red, blue and yellow, the primary subtractive colors, with the addition of white.

Thus, in the first days of March 1958, the Satélite Towers were inaugurated as the symbol of the newborn and modern Ciudad Satélite.
Click to select the cover image for this artwork.
Period / movement: minimalism