Chichen Itza is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilisation, located in the northern centre of the Yucatan Peninsula. Set in one of the most enigmatic and beautiful places in the world, the project is a competition for the design of a new museum lodge and visitor's centre. Our competition entry demanded a respectful and poetic architectural intervention
that was also ecologically responsible. Our design has a monumental lightness. It does not compete with the Temple site, but respects it with an appropriate contemporary architecture.
The location of the museum lodge is determined by the characteristics of the site, the ceremonial route to the Temple compound, coupled with a site grid whose focal and gravitational point is the Temple. Conceptually, the project is an inversion of the Mayan form, replacing solids with voids. This geometry is further underlined by the floating floor slabs from which to view the landscape. Public and communal areas are arranged at ground level, with rooms and terraces above.
At the very top is the restaurant that enjoys direct sunlight and the best views of the Temple. Circulation is through open staircases that make reference to the Mayan typology. The form of the building also protects the museum from direct sunlight. The building is designed to have a minimal ecological impact. Photovoltaic panels clad the roof, and rainwater collection becomes a sculptural element visible from all levels. At night, suspended illuminated lodge boxes are reminiscent of fireflies
in the forest canopy.
1,820 sqm / 19,590 ft