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Reblogged article from Archinect

Credit: Gross Max

Credit: Gross Max
The Mayan Riviera has had a rapid increase of visitors each year—over 10% annually—and its residential population has almost doubled since 2000. In fact, it has more international visitors than any other region in Latin America. While great for the economy, this influx can have a negative effect on the region’s ecology.

Zaha Hadid Architects have designed Alai, a complex of residential buildings that marry “ecological considerations, engaging design and a reinterpretation of local architectural tradition.” Alai is sited on a plot of land previously prepped for a building never completed.

Credit: Gross Max
Credit: Gross Max

By limiting the total footprint of all residential buildings to 7% of the site, the design reduces its environmental impact and the vegetation to remain largely intact. An onsite botanical nursery is intended to aid the restoration of biodiversity that was disturbed by the previous owner. There’s also a woodland reserve and a coastal wetland restoration project.

The residential buildings themselves are all perched on an elevated platform with integrated perforations that allow light to reach the ground below, fostering plants that can grow up through the holes. Amenities, like recreation areas, are located on the platform.

Credit: Gross Max

Credit: Gross Max

The design is also intended to reference, or reinterpret, traditional Mayan architecture. According to the architects:

Echoing the rich textures and surface complexity within the local Mayan masonry and architectural tradition derived from the repetition and variation of a small number of geometric components, the differing texture and patterning of each building’s façade within Alai is generated by assembling the balcony units and façade elements in varying sequences. This enables elements of relatively few different designs to create a unique facade for each building, yet maintains a cohesive design language throughout. These textured facade and balcony units provide solar shading to the apartments within.”