A Future for Tourist Enclaves in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Erika Studney, B.Arch '21


ARCH 502A: Architectural Design V

Gallery: Proving Ground: UNESCO's Laboratories

Instructor: Marcos Sánchez

Located on the northern edge of UNESCO’s Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Quintana Roo, Mexico, this project imagines a near-future reorganization of Cancun’s numerous tourist enclaves, archeological research sites and nature reserves to mitigate the future ecological impact of tourism.

Using proximity diagramming to reorganize different types of tourist architecture, the project consolidates tourist enclaves into a network of contained, cellular environments. “Adventure tourism” sites and honeymoon resort hotels, for example, are sorted into neighboring cells, transforming one parcel of land into a landscape of newlywed architecture and the next into pavilions for zip-lining thrill seekers. By manipulating building types and their density, the project aims to intensify these tourist play-scapes within individual cells while shielding sites of ecological vulnerability and archeological significance from future damage.


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