Tulum, Mexico, a place originally known for its ancient Mayan ruins and pristine beaches, is fast becoming a cosmopolitan city. In stark contrast to Rem Koolhaas’s “Delirious New York,“ Tulum is laying the groundwork for a new urban civilization that thrives on “Un-congestion.” Where Manhattan is an epitome of congestion, Tulum aims to be a paragon of low-density, self-sufficient, and community-driven living.
In the heart of this emerging cityscape lies Ciudadela Jardin, a groundbreaking masterplan by Yaaxka Design, headed by Victor Chavez and Julio Sanchez. It is a development that doesn’t merely coexist with nature but thrives in symbiosis with it.
Ciudadela Jardin Technical Information
- Architects1: Yaaxka Design
- Location: Tulum, Mexico
- Topics: Organic Architecture
- Client: Zepto
- Project Year: 2023
- Photographs: © Yaaxka Design
We have to delete from our minds the way we look and design, the way we are used to live. As more we understand it, as more we create different solutions that not necessarily are concrete boxes and straight roads, instead an organic shape out of nature can shape our future.
– Yaaxka Design
Ciudadela Jardin Photographs
Reimagining Sustainability as an Architectural Ethos in Tulum
Ciudadela Jardin is part of the larger “Consciente” movement, which in Spanish means “conscious.” The term is reflective of the project’s ethos—low-density development with a high degree of sustainability. Amid concerns about the future of Tulum’s unique Tropical moist forests and interconnected underground rivers, Ciudadela Jardin emerges as a shining example of eco-conscious architecture.
In an era where the word ‘sustainability’ is often thrown around casually, Ciudadela Jardin brings meaning to the term. The community actively participates in preserving Tulum’s famous Cenotes—natural sinkholes that expose the groundwater underneath. These are integrated into the development as more than just an aesthetic feature; they become an active part of the residents’ lifestyle, a blessing from nature to be respected and cared for.
Architectural ingenuity lies in features like bamboo floating canopies pavilions, a mystical sauna temple, a sports center, a play center, and a yoga shala. The design approach leans heavily towards biomimicry—structures inspired by natural forms like mangroves and organic shapes. The Cenote Club, for instance, is the star attraction with a bamboo structure that seems to hover seamlessly over the lush forest.
The designers draw inspiration from the Mayan tradition of looking to nature for artistic and architectural cues. From the sky to the depths of the ocean, each form and feature of the project aspires to mirror natural elements in a modern setting. The Cenote Sauna maintains the natural ambiance of the Cenotes but adds an otherworldly charm that makes it blend effortlessly into its jungle setting.
The core of Ciudadela Jardin’s design approach is revolutionary in itself. It calls for erasing the preconceived notions of architectural forms—concrete boxes and straight roads—and instead, envisioning a future where designs emerge organically out of the environment. As the architects put it, “As more we understand it, as more we create different solutions.”
In a world grappling with the consequences of unchecked urbanization and environmental neglect, Ciudadela Jardin by Yaaxka Design stands as an example of sustainable design. The preservation of clean water and natural vegetation are not merely incidental but central to the master plan, highlighting the project’s commitment to creating a harmonious human-nature interface.
Ciudadela Jardin Plans
Ciudadela Jardin Image Gallery
About Yaaxka Design
Yaaxka Design, led by architects Victor Chavez and Julio Sanchez, is an architectural firm known for its commitment to sustainable and conscious design. Based in Mexico, the firm merges traditional design philosophies with cutting-edge technology to create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally responsible. With projects like Ciudadela Jardin, Yaaxka Design exemplifies an ethos of “conscious architecture,” aiming for low-density, self-sufficient communities that live in symbiosis with nature.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Design Team: Victor Chavez and Julio Sanchez