Tulum Site Museum

Year: 2005.
Location: Tulum Mayan Ruin, Mexico..

This competition entry for an archaeological museum outside a Mayan ruin on the Cancun peninsula continues our research into cellular aggregate structures.

Site Location
As an extremely important archeological site, the primary concern at Tulum is the minimization of human impact on the landscape and historical artifacts. This is achieved through the relocation of the museum site to align with the existing flow of movement. This location avoids clearing large areas of forest as well as places the museum between the existing entrance and exit to the ruins.

Program + Circulation
Through the relocation of the museum site, a series of parallel circulation routes are established in relation to the program. The zone closest to the city wall will remain as the main path to the city entrance. The next band out is the museum which is considered as an alternate path to the city. Visitors enter on one end and exit near the entrance to the ruins. The outer band of program contains the offices, toilets, and cafeteria.

A series of concrete strips are arranged perpendicular to the flow of circulation. These strata are the foundations for the museum above and as retaining walls on the sloped landscape. In addition they choreograph a spatial rhythm that is experienced as the visitor moves through the site. Visually, they appear as submerged walls, echoing the existing ruins on the site.

Surface Density
In between the strata a paving system is laid whose geometry is based on the density of movement on the landscape. Areas of high density and low density circulation are paved with a differentiated pattern that allows for both small and large size tiles simultaneously.

Aggregate Structures
The museum walls and roofs are composed of a 3D voronoi tile system which explores the nature of aggregate structures through voids rather than mass. The structure relates directly to the stone aggregate walls of the Tulum site: the structure could be considered as the materialization of the voids between the individual stones. Thus, the museum structure refers to the existing tectonic yet renders it lightweight and airy. It is the invisible made visible.

Using Format