Receiving recently the CIDI Latin American design award as “Emblematic work of 2013” in the Culture category, the Great Maya World Museum of Mérida in Mexico (El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya) is a noticeable cultural project, which aims to preserve and promote the region’s cultural heritage. Starting from the idea that “a building without meaning is a simple construction”, (formerly 4A Arquitectos) designed El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, whose design concept is inspired by the interesting Mayan culture. Highlights not only the prehispanic architecture of the region, but also their cosmogony, its expressive, highly dramatic overall design symbolizes the sacred tree of the cosmic vision of Mayan culture -“La Ceiba”. As the focal point of the composition, La Ceiba and the sacred tree connects the world with the underworld and the sky and the shadow as ineffable value in a sun-scorched land but refreshed by the breeze.
Thus, the exterior of the building showcases a visually striking design featuring an abstract metal framework that seems woven across the façade, which reminds us of Beijing National Stadium. Its Ceiba tree -inspired shape raises seeking for natural air and light using passive systems to achieve energy benefits and environmental comfort. Designed as a living museum that aims to captivate and inspire love for new knowledge that makes you return again, El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya makes you curious to investigate the Mayan culture and its origins. The building is structured in order to integrate all the required areas and the program needs for the various functional activities.
Museum collections, transit cellars, research and study áreas of the great archaeological acquisition and a 260 parking spaces area are all located at the “Ceiba’s roots” level. Life and daily activities take place at the “Ceiba’s trunk” level, underneath its shade, the sacred tree being related to the infinite where its branches spread up to the sky and human transcendence. Here is the the main lobby, personal belongins kept area, ticket offices, public relations office, childcare center, restaurant with terrace, souvenir shop and a terrace bar, as well as a 2,000 m2 of permanent exhibition rooms and 600 m2 for travelling exhibitions. A high-definition large format cinema with performing arts facilites for various artistic and cultural activities, a multi-purpose hall, and also the executive and administrative offices are to be found inside the “Ceiba’s frond”. Note that the sustainability is an integral part of this project, creating a comprehensive work that takes all environment, social and economic aspects in consideration.
Photos © David Cervera, Rocío Rojo, Alessandra Ortíz
Architects: 4A Arquitectos
Location: Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Design Team: Ricardo Combaluzier, Enrique Duarte, William Ramírez, Josefina Rivas
Collaborators: Luis De La Rosa, Alma Villicaña, Carlos Guardián, Mariana Farfán, Julio Rosas, Aída Ordóñez, Fabián Rosas, Ricardo Combaluzier
Area: 22,600 sqm