This must be the most fascinating and unusual building I have ever seen in Uruguay. Nestled against the hillside it overlooks a bay called Punta Ballena (Whale Point). The story of this building is a short but fascinating one, and today Casa Pueblo has become a very popular tourist destination.
This Mediterranean style building was constructed by the Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró and it took him 36 years to complete. It was hand built/constructed by the artist himself together with a few helpers and without any official plans at the time. (Today he would not get away with that.) Every inch was unplanned and he built and shaped it lovingly as though it were a giant sculpture.
The inside is a labyrinth with no straight lines whatsoever. The entire building was constructed using whitewashed cement and Stucco, and all the rooms are staggered to allow for a perfect view across the bay to watch the sunset.
Originally it was the residence and workshop of the artist but today it has a museum with a restaurant, an art gallery as well as being a hotel.
Since 1994 a sunset ceremony takes place every single day on the terrace of the museum. A few minutes before sunset the artists recorded voice recites a short poem in honour of the sun and bids it farewell. If you visit the museum in the morning you will be granted access free of charge in the afternoon to partake in the sunset ceremony. Just be sure to keep your tickets.
“I built it (Casa Pueblo) as if it were a habitable sculpture, without plans, especially at the urging of my enthusiasm. When the municipality asked me recently for the plans it did not have, an architect friend of mine had to spend a month trying to find the way to decipher it. – Carlos Páez Vilaró
All photos taken by ClaudiaZ