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Tadao Ando is Now Mixing Concrete and Thatched Roofs

Mexican-born painter Bosco Sodi spent years petitioning Japanese starchitect Tadao Ando, who won the Pritzker Prize in 1995, to design an art studio for him. He sent him a series of complimentary faxes in the mid-2000s, according to the Wall Street Journal, but his request was declined. A few years later Sodi flew to Los Angeles for the sole purpose of showing the minimalist architect the site he had settled upon: a rough stretch of land wedged between the beach and the ocean in rural Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Intrigued, Ando finally agreed, and ended up designing the Casa Wabi Foundation for art, which combines his signature work in concrete with the style of a traditional Oaxacan thatched-roof 'palapa,' or open-sided dwelling.

The 8,000-square-foot complex is designed with six freestanding buildings—studios, exhibition spaces, and an educational facility—encircling a central courtyard. Eventually there will be a botanical garden filled with outdoor art. While thatched roofs are a clear departure from the 72-year-old architect's most recent projects, like the sexy, glassy condos he's injecting into lower Manhattan, the project is very Ando: the open structures have a simple design that emphasizes the empty space around them.

"The architect's most striking gesture is the 341-yard-long wall that bisects the terrain between the dunes and the foot of the mountain range, effectively dividing the public and private spaces and punctuated only by a couple of doorways and small openings that evoke medieval-style arrow slits," wrote the Wall Street Journal.

"I am always seeking new challenges and want to create something unique with each project," Ando told the Journal. "This project was rich in identity despite its many challenges."

Casa Wabi opened on Oct. 25 with an installation by artist Daniel Buren, and can be visited by appointment only. More photos, below.

All photos by Fernanda Romandia via The Casa Wabi Foundation

· Casa Wabi Foundation [Official site]
· Casa Wabi: Bosco Sodi's Arts Foundation [Wall Street Journal]
· The new Casa Wabi Foundation by Tadao Ando in Mexico combines tradition and modern design [Wallpaper]
· All Globe Trotting posts [Curbed National]