Casa Wabi, a nonprofit arts center located in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico, is a stage for world-renowned contemporary artists and architects to engage with the local community.
Tadao Ando's remarkable Casa Wabi dots the Pacific coastline of Mexico with structures by Alberto Kalach, Alvaro Siza, Kengo Kuma, Gloria Cabral, Solano Benitez, Jorge Ambrosi, and Gabriela Etchegaray. Founded in 2013 by renowned Mexican artist Bosco Sodi, it combines artist residencies, a gallery, and living quarters with classrooms, gardens, and public space. Tadao Ando centers the foundation on a 312-meter-long wall; his trademark concrete structures radiate off it, capped in woven palm tree leaves for ventilation. These local palapa-style roofs are often the only element distinguishing indoor and outdoor spaces, an effect complemented by wooden shutters in place of paned glass windows. Other unusual native building materials include Mexican parota wood and marmolina. Led by director Carla Sodi, Casa Wabi challenges architects and artists to contemplate nature deeply, as it provides new tools for area residents. Casa Wabi is both a world-class architectural destination and a model for new strategies of creative intervention within economically depressed communities.
About the Author
Martino Stierli is the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art and the SNF Professor of the History of Architecture at the University of Zurich. Dakin Hart is Senior Curator at the Noguchi Museum, Queens, New York. Tadao Ando is a Japanese self-taught architect whose approach to architecture and landscape was categorized by architectural historian Francesco Dal Co as "critical regionalism". He is the winner of the 1995 Pritzker Prize. One of the most highly regarded architects of his generation, Portugese architect Álvaro Siza is known for his sculptural works that have been described as "poetic modernism." He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1992. Bosco Sodi is a contemporary artist based in New York City. Sodi has lived, studied, and worked in Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin. He now maintains studios in Barcelona, Berlin, New York, and his native Mexico City. Carla Sodi is the general director of Casa Wabi, where she oversees an international exhibition program, residencies in Oaxaca and Japan, and education programs ranging from clay, recycling, conservation, drawing to film and performance.