ZHA designs wild woodland nature reserve for Mayan Mexico

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has revealed designs for eco-conscious apartment blocks for the Mayan Riviera of the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico.

The design of Alai is described by ZHA as being "guided by principles of integrating a new residential community while also minimising the effect on local ecosystems".

The project combines a mix of residential buildings, a botanical nursery, a woodland nature reserve and amenities for sport, leisure and wellness.

The residential buildings share an elevated platform with "perforations" that allow natural light to penetrate to the ground below and enable tropical vegetation to grow through the platform. Amenities for sport, leisure and wellness are also located on this platform, which is raised 9m above the ground to ensure local wildlife can cross the site.

The design has also reduced its environmental impact by limiting the combined footprint of residential buildings to less than 7% of the site’s total area, enabling vegetation to be retained. Most of the site will be returned to its natural state through a programme of replanting planned with landscape architect Gross Max.

A botanical nursery will play a role in the restoration of species and ecosystems on the site, which was disturbed by a previous owner. A woodland nature reserve will include a network of suspended footpaths to enable residents to access the woodlands, coast and lagoon without disturbing the ground.

ZHA comment on the location: "The number of visitors to the Mayan Riviera is increasing by over 10% each year – surpassing 20 million arrivals in 2016 – while its residential population has almost doubled since the year 2000. Accommodating this continued growth in popularity while also curtailing its impact on the environment must be the principal driver for all new projects in the region."

Images courtesy of ZHA/Mir

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