lost in the lush greenery of mexico’s yucatán jungle, ‘plantel matilde’ serves as a sculpture studio as well as a place for inspiration and meditation. the project is the result of a collaboration between mexican artist javier marín and his brother, architect arcadio marín. the arts complex is situated in the sac chich community along a site formerly dedicated to the cultivation of agave. the vast natural context offers an ideal backdrop for the artist’s collection of sculptural works, each characterized by their monumental scale.

 

video © edmund sumner (also main image)

 

 

while ‘plantel matilde’ is programmed first and foremost as a studio and gallery space, the project further serves as an observatory. the structure — photographed here by edmund sumner — offers a viewpoint which rises above the treetops and offers sweeping, panoramic views. overseen by javier marín’s foundation, the arts center is organized in plan as a square interrupted by a centralized reflecting pool.

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

 

 

alongside aesthetic elements, the team expresses a focus on functionality, low maintenance finishes, and solutions that lend a minimal environmental impact. the attic bedrooms, for instance, feature windows on the same level as the reflecting pool, encouraging the flow of cooler air and avoiding the need for active cooling systems.

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

 

 

the building stands in total harmony with the central principles of javier marín’s artwork. with a tendency toward works defined as unpredictable, imperfect, and in progress, the brothers javier and arcadio marín anticipate that the environment will leave its mark on their monumental project. the team emphasizes an approach to architecture that integrates pre-hispanic influences that recall the atmosphere both of church cloisters and hacienda courtyards. this diverse hybridization of aesthetics express the building as an ‘inhabitable sculpture in constant mutation’.

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

 

 

for more than a year, the javier marín foundation has been organizing weekly ceramic workshops at plantel matilde for the local community. the first pieces of the workshop are being designed by marín himself, who will seek the collaboration of other artists to create new designs. functioning as a cooperative enterprise, the original clay pieces may be sold, representing a new source of income for the community. looking ahead, in 2021 the foundation plans to open applications for its artist residency program.

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

plantel matilde marín
image © edmund sumner

 

 

project info:

 

title: plantel matilde

design: javier marín and arcadio marín
organization: javier marin foundation

location: yucatan jungle, mexico

photography: edmund sumner