The Fundación Casa Wabi, in Puerto Escondido, is an exciting complex. It is a home for artists, a sustainable farm, and a botanical garden – all housed in a stunning creation by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. (Andō Tadao)
Take a stroll a few meters down the beach from the Hotel Escondido, and you encounter a complex that is both a massive concrete block and lighter than air. An oasis of creativity melting into the Mexican sun.
Cleaving the main palapa in two, we find a massive concrete wall over 100m long x 3.6m high. Running parallel to the pacific coast, it is dividing the property into two zones.
On the ocean-side, a grand reception and dining room find shade under a giant palapa. Elevated to have a perfect view of the elongated swimming pool streaming to the sea. The roof palms shimmering reflected in the water.
On the inland side, we find the core of the Fundación. Artists residences and studios on the southern half. Galleries and performance spaces in the north. Note the staff is very protective of this part, leading one to imagine the secrets it may hold! So if you wander – prepare for a confrontation.
We wandered! Separated from our guide, we took a meander through the garden. Making our way through the scrub and encountering abandoned sculptural blocks. While we tried to figure what their combination of form and function might message, we got lost! Luckily, the wall – did we mention it was massive? – loomed in the distance. Like lost children following a stream, we tracked our way back to the wall and ended up on the side of the artist studios. Our rejoice of being ‘found’ was not reciprocated by the artists-in-residence. A young Austrian and American marched us back to the public zone!
Mexican artist Bosco Sodi conceived the Casa Wabi in Puerto Escondido to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and social commitment through art. Set up in 2014 as a sustainable compound, it has lived to achieve its goal. Residents and staff are growing food and cotton, making ceramics and bricks, breeding poultry, and working an apiary.
The artist-in-residence program, directed by Patricia Martin, the curator of Colección at Museo Júmex in Mexico city, attracts worldwide talent. Engaging artists in community education and instruction programs; while providing them a place to live and work.
This 27 Hectare Eden is also a botanical garden. Headed Mexican architect Alberto Kalach, its mission is to preserve and educate. On the preservation side, they are cataloging the endemic species of the region. Species include the parota, the macuil, and the majahua. On the educational side, they are teaching modern environmental principles to the locals.
A massive undertaking both in form and function, Casa Wabi is an experience on multiple levels.
Guided tours ask for advance booking. Check the website for the current schedule.
Tadao Andō’s observatory
Stark and Grand … and humble
Mexican artist Bosco Sodi‘s mountainous blocks of blocks emphasize the strength of the human perspective facing nature. The installation comprises sixty-four 7′ x 7′ x 7’ cubes composed of 1,600 handmade bricks. These bricks are made from local clay via traditional burning methods and were fired onsite at the tall kiln at Casa Wabi.
Visitor Info: Casa Wabi Mexico
Salina Cruz – Santiago Pinotepa Nacional Km 113, 71983 Puerto Escondido, Oax., Mexico