The ancient Mayan civilization was enshrining its legacy in stone more than a thousand years ago, and the ingenious designs of that time are being used in new ways today.
On a 1,525-kilometer (950-mile) Mexican rail line, a new station is being built to serve the Yucatan city of Tulum, using techniques drawn from the ancient Mayan playbook.
The Mexican-English architecture studio Aidia in charge of the project devised a giant sloping train roof in the shape of an eyeball and a platform with a lattice roof that lets in air but prevents rain, inspired by Mayan construction methods.
A perforated roof of structured steel and fiberglass reinforced concrete panels will be aligned with a geometric grid. It will be glazed in places and outfitted with polished hardwoods on the inside.
“The climate in the Yucatan peninsula is tropical with rains and high humidity in the summer, to face this extreme climate, we envisage a large open lattice roof, glazed in strategic locations, enabling semi-open public spaces that work without mechanical ventilation, “The designers wrote in the Project site.
“The sunlight that passes through the ceiling, projects complex geometric patterns on the walls and floors of the station, a play of light and shadow that runs through the space and evokes different sensations in users,” they added.
In fact, the Mayans loved to play with shadows, and sunlight and the shadow it casts often played roles in their buildings, such as at Chichén Itzá, where the spring equinox is projected. the shadow of a snake sliding down the side of the Pyramid of Kukulcán.
The train station is designed to bring sustainability and a low-carbon footprint to the fold, so the lack of mechanized ventilation eliminates some emissions, while the surrounding area is covered in trees and foliage.
“The aerodynamic geometry of the roof absorbs the ocean breeze and channels it through the station,” the study writes.
“Throughout the design journey, our goal was to infuse the station with some of the best-known features of Mayan architecture; symmetry, monumentality, geometric alignment, and the use of limestone are all constant delights in Mayan architecture. As such, we have tried to honor this heritage by rescuing that same spatial quality, simply reinterpreting it in a contemporary way. “
Scheduled to begin construction in six months, the firm expects the station to be completed for the Tren Maya railway line, which connects Palenque, another famous Mayan city, with Cancun.by 2023.
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