Architects: Cristina Iglesias
Location: Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Area: 81.0 sqm
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Cristina Iglesias
I found even the journey along the road from Belo Horizonte to Inhotim, in Minas Gerais, deeply affecting. As we drove through the villages to Brumadinho alongside the railway tracks that carry metal from the mines, everything seemed to be covered in a reddish, ferrous dust that gave it all the look of an aged sepia photograph. I noticed several garages where dilapidated cars were being repaired, and the gaping wounds in the mountainsides between the lush, wild vegetation. I had those images in mind when I entered the garden. Suddenly, as if a perfect oasis after all those tortuous roads, we saw Inhotim: a laboratory for botany and art, a place intended to encourage education and debate.
That initial experience provided the basic idea for the project. We looked for a place that was wild but not too far from the garden. I imagined a room in the forest close to the more orderly garden, thus creating a new path to one of the areas of vegetation in Inhotim that act as a reminder of the original forest.
I built a vegetation room with no roof, open to the sky in the middle of the forest, with stainless-steel walls that reflect the surrounding nature and thus disappear, as if camouflaged. It has four entrances, one on each side. Each door opens onto a space with inviting little nooks and crannies and with openings
into the other internal spaces, which the visitor can peer into, but not enter. The walls are a fictional vegetal assemblage with a repeated motif that gradually mutates from one space to another, with almost imperceptibly multiplying details.
It is not possible to gain access from one space to the other when inside the structure. You have to leave the sculpture in whose outer walls is reflected the surrounding environment in order to find another way in. When you enter from another side, what you will experience is very similar to that you just left. Although you hear the murmur of running water, it is only when you enter the door most hidden by undergrowth that you are led to the heart of the labyrinth where, under a metallic mesh floor, the water forms a whirlpool.