Author(s): Bosco Sodi; Carla Sodi
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.