Placemaking and community through art

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OVERVIEW

Fundación Casa Wabi is a non-profit civil association that fosters an exchange between contemporary art and local communities in three locations: Puerto Escondido, Mexico City, and Tokyo. The name originates from the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, which seeks beauty and harmony in the simple, the imperfect, and the unconventional. The mission is focused on forging social social development through the arts, carried out through five programs: residencies, exhibitions, clay, film, and mobile library.

Casa Wabi is located on the Pacific coast, 30 minutes from the Puerta Escondido airport, Oaxaca, Mexico. Set between the mountains and the sea, the headquarters have been designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando and under the initiative of Mexican artist Bosco Sodi. The facilities include a multipurpose palapa, six separate bedrooms, two closed studios and six open studios, a screening room / auditorium, a 450 m2 exhibition gallery and various workspaces that make it an ideal place to recharge and interact with other artists.

Tadao Ando's Casa Wabi is an artist's retreat that stretches along the Mexican coast. A 312-metre-long concrete wall provides the framework for this house and art centre designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando for a picturesque site on the Mexican seafront.

The building provides a home for the Casa Wabi Foundation, an arts charity established by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi and directed by Patricia Martin, best known as the curator of Latin America's largest private art collection, the Colección Júmex.

The plan is laid out like a giant compass. The long concrete wall runs west to east, following the coastline, to create a series of different rooms and zones. The north-south axis is provided by an approach road, as well as a long narrow terrace and swimming pool that extend out towards the water's edge.

"The project site is situated directly facing the South Pacific Ocean, sharing 550 metres of coastline with only the breathtaking beach," explained Ando, who also recently completed a house in Mexico's Sierra Las Mitras mountains.

"With such a generous length of site, I have created a single concrete wall of 312 metres long by 3.6 metres high," he said. "The wall creates horizontal separation between public programmes on the north side and private programmes on the south side."

"The wall also generates the main circulation path cutting across every programme, serving as a dual interior and exterior wall," he added. "Rich red and orange sunset is to be reflected on the concrete surface."

The main building forms the centre of the cross formation. The concrete wall splits the interior into two halves, with reception spaces on the north side and living areas to the south.

The largest space in the building is a grand living and dining room, featuring a huge wooden dining bench and a slightly sunken lounge facing out towards the ocean. It leads out to the terrace and its two swimming pools – a long narrow pool for lengths, and a triangular padding pool.

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