Sitting quietly in the vast landscapes of the Sac Chich community in the Yucatan region, the project forms part of the Javier Marín Foundation, a non-profit art association founded by the Mexican sculptor. Designed by Marín’s brother and architect Arcadio Marín primarily as Javier’s personal studio and gallery, the space functions as an arts center and laboratory for ideas, with multiple studios and accommodation for artists-in-residence. The architectural design has been developed around a square layout with concrete columns running along two walls, and narrow windows dotting the other two walls. The 10-meter high monolithic colonnades wrap around a reflective pool filled with tiny plants and stone paths; in the center, a small island conserves the original land and trees. Marín’s abstract sculptural works are positioned along the building’s open arcades; inside the corridors, decorative tables and stools fill the spaces.
"A building waiting for the environment to leave its mark on it"
Marín’s aesthetics have been adapted subtly and effectively into the space. The architecture takes influences from his sculptural works, which explore the construction and deconstruction of three-dimensional forms. “In total harmony with principles at the heart of his artistic production—a penchant for the unpredictable, imperfections, and work in progress—this is a building waiting for the environment to leave its mark on it,” reads a statement from the Foundation. Created with precast concrete pieces and completed on a site formerly dedicated to the cultivation of agave plants, ‘Plantel Matilde’ is constructed with materials and finishes that require little maintenance and have minimal environmental impact. The design draws from pre-Hispanic influences that echo the elements of church cloisters, Spanish and traditional hacienda courtyards. These details are embraced with a contemporary and non-ornamental appeal.
Conceived of as a meditative place for contemplation, Javier and Arcadio Marín also built a 360-degree viewpoint above the treetops, where the entire horizon of the Mayan plan could be seen. “Plantel Matilde was thought of as an observatory, a place beneath the treetops to observe the celestial vault in its entirety and the phenomena that occur in it throughout the day,” the statement concludes.