Built in 2019 and located in the arts center Casa Wabi in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, the pavilion designed by AMBROSI ETCHEGARAY is inserted below ground, creating a peaceful connection with the environment and serving as a nursery for the care of the species while providing shade and shelter for the workers. The visitors are invited to walk among the work tables that contain the newly born trees in a longitudinal path that accentuates the vastness of the landscape.
© Sergio López
Guayacan Pavilion by Damián Comas
Touch a tree at night. What does it tell you? Now place your ear upon the trunk. What do you hear? Do it again in the morning, during the rainy season, in the following months, during the season of drought. What is different? Is it not obvious that everything is changed, that we should all transition between heat and cold, between water and thirst, between presence and void, between life and death?
From these beginnings and resistances, the wabi-sabi architecture of the Guayacan Pavilion was born. The work is an expression of materiality and of space itself, where the architecture, developed by the office of AMBROSI ETCHEGARAY, conceived a pavilion that, in its transition across space and time, benefits from its deterioration or its assimilation into the landscape, into nature, the origin of all things. With a minimal use of materials, it finds its maximum expression for presenting and nurturing the Guaiacum Sanctum L. Zygophyllaceae, colloquially known as Guayacan, an endemic tree included in the SEMARNAT list of endangered species.
To protect the species, Casa Wabi, with support from the Environmental Management Unit (UMA), decided to create a nursery for the care and reproduction of the Guayacan tree. A project in which, from its inception, the authors understood the architect would only be a medium for the expressions that nature offered. They conceived of a new pavilion that invites the users and visitors to descend into the resulting paths beneath ground level, allowing for a closer interaction with the trees to perceive the temperature, the humidity of the atmosphere, the flow of air, and the relationship between the species and the groundwater.
Through an imperfect beauty and elegance in austerity, the pavilion opens with a large shade that functions as the entrance threshold while simultaneously generating a resting place for the workers and visitors where the sun, water, and air become apparent and invite us to observe the Guayacan tree close up, to acquaint or reacquaint ourselves with it in a setting that expresses depth, emotion, intelligence, and mysticism.
One continues to walk through the seedlings that ensue upon a sequence of work tables whose forms are the remains of the excavation. Through this change in level, where the ethic seeks to care for the environment as well as to respect those who work there, the personnel in charge of the plants significantly reduce physical exertion as they clean and care for the new trees upon the work tables and avoid bending over to work on the ground.
The Guayacan Pavilion is undoubtedly a work of contemporary architecture that is committed to an aesthetic, the surroundings, the passage of time, and the care for our land.
© Sergio López
DATE: 2018 / LOCATION: Casa Wabi, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico / AREA: 900 m2 / PROGRAM: tree nursery / STATUS: built / DESIGN: Jorge Ambrosi, Gabriela Etchegaray / TEAM: Ivo Martins, Santiago Bonilla, Javier Caro / PHOTOS: Sergio López, Jaime Navarro