Touch a tree at night. What does it tell you? Now place you 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 change? 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 Guayacán Pavilion was born. The work is an expression of materiality and 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 Guayacán, an endemic tree included in the SEMARNAT list of endangered species.
With the purpose of protecting the species, Casa Wabi, with support from the Environmental Management Unit (UMA), decided to create a nursery for the care and reproduction of the Guayacán. A project that, from its inception, the authors understood the architect would only be a medium for the expressions that nature offered, so they conceived of a new pavilion that invites the users and visitors to descend into the resulting paths beneath ground level that allowed for a closer interaction to the trees in order 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 Guayacán 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 form 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 avoiding bending over to work on the ground.
The Guayacán 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.