Architect Carlos de la Barrera is well known in Mérida for projects that blur the line between interior and exterior and challenge established ways of doing things locally.
Originally from Mérida, de la Barrera began his education in his hometown but also enrolled at the University of Cincinnati where he completed his architecture degree.
“When in school in the US, I was exposed to so many new ideas and ways of doing things I had never even imagined, it was extremely eye-opening,” says de la Barrera.
During this time, de la Barrera would be exposed to several influences which would inform his future career, especially the Organic Architecture tradition kicked off by Frank Loyd Wright.
The idea of organic architecture refers not only to a building’s literal relationship to its natural surroundings but to how a building’s design is carefully thought as a unified organism.
“Everything relates to one another, reflecting the symbiotic ordering systems of nature,” says de la Barrera.
After graduation, de la Barrera chose to remain in the United States for several years, working at architectural firms large and small. He was also participating in international projects in places as far away as Santiago de Chile and Taiwan.
After several successes in the United States, de la Barrera decided to return home and try his luck in his home Peninsula.
“When I first came back in 2003 I was taken aback by how slow and informal everything was in Mérida. There was not too much going on so I decided to try my luck in Playa del Carmen,” says de la Barrera.
While working in the Riviera Maya, de la Barrera played a key role in the construction of the Palladium Hotel in Playa del Carmen, one of the very first resorts of its kind in the now bustling resort city.
Once the project was complete, de la Barerra tried his luck once again in 2006, but by this time things had really picked up in Mérida, with an ever-growing number of expats looking to buy and remodel homes in Centro.
“It was a very exciting time, and really seemed to come out of left field to me. I made several great contacts and got straight to work. I have not stopped since,” says de la Barrera.
When building or remodeling a home, de la Barrera takes charge of every aspect of the design and construction, while at the same time doing everything in his power to make sure his clients feel listened to and have their needs met.
“Communication with my clients is essential. I don’t like to rush things. When working with someone new it’s very important for me to really get to know them, share a meal, some coffee, and have them over to my home in Xcanatún,” says de la Barrera.
Some of his most recent projects include a couple of luxury homes out at Mérida’s Polo Club and in Mérida’s Centro.
“Despite the pandemic, Mérida’s market shows no sign of slowing down but it’s interesting to note that many newcomers are now buying properties in Centro neighborhoods like San Sebastian and Chem Bech.
When asked if over the years he had noticed any significant differences when working with local and international clients, de la Barrera answers with a grin. “Some superficial things sure, but really everyone wants the same thing, for their home to be beautiful, on budget, and on time — these being aspects I take very seriously.”
For more information visit Carlos de la Barrera’s website at www.mayadbn.com
Arqmayanland Architects and Builders
Calle 22 Xcanatun, Yuc.