Spring 2016 | University of Texas at Austin
Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico
Instructor: Juan Miro

Images courtesy of Alexander Architectural Archives

The project consists of two components. The first in researching the archives of George Andrews, an American architect who spent decades cataloging Mayan sites in the Yucatan. The second in designing a master plan, and non-for-profit nursing school in Valladolid, Mexico, within a community with strong Catholic faith and traces of Mayan ancestry.

Our research into George Andrew’s documents revealed the intricate ways in which Mayan public spaces were constructed, highlighted in his drawings using yellow tape. City planning operates ceremonially, roads terminating in public squares flanked by important buildings before continuing off-axis into another sector. We constructed our master plan of the medical campus along similar lines, using a subtractive system of clearing away brush, and using path, openings, and buildings to guide users within a system of private thresholds and reveals.

Buildings are inspired by Mayan spaces and symbolism. Ground floor spaces have thickness, walls read in three dimensions. Second-floor classrooms open up to the campus, announcing the presence and purpose of the building as might traditionally intricate Mayan carvings.