Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled a plush new residential project for Mexico that draws design inspiration from Mayan culture, and will endeavor to minimize disturbance to local wildlife with a system of raised platforms and walkways. Named Alai, it's planned for Mexico's Mayan Riviera, a booming tourist district in the country's Yucatan Peninsula.

Details are scant at this early stage of the project, but we know Alai will consist of a cluster of residential buildings comprising luxury apartments. The buildings will have a minimal footprint that covers less than 7 percent of the plot and will extend upwards through an integrated 9 m (29.5 ft)-tall platform system that includes large walkways, amenities for sport, leisure and wellness, etc.

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The idea is, by raising all this stuff above-ground and keeping residents' feet away from terra firma – at least in some areas – ground-based wildlife will be left undisturbed and able to thrive. The platforms are also perforated to ensure light reaches fauna below.

Zaha Hadid Architects cites Mayan culture as an influence. It's pretty hard to see any overt similarities but the Maya experimented with repetition in architecture, as does Alai.

"Echoing the rich textures and surface complexity within the local Mayan masonry and architectural tradition derived from the repetition and variation of a small number of geometric components, the differing texture and patterning of each building's facade within Alai is generated by assembling the balcony units and facade elements in varying sequences," says the firm in a press release.

"This enables elements of relatively few different designs to create a unique facade for each building, yet maintains a cohesive design language throughout. These textured facade and balcony units provide solar shading to the apartments within."

The construction of the buildings will be combined with an extensive replanting and restoration program by landscape architects Gross Max, including an onsite botanical nursery. In addition, a wetland will be restored and new woodlands created, while a network of suspended footpaths will be installed to enable residents to stroll through the woodlands and around the area – again, without disturbing the ground.

Planning permission for Alai has been granted, so we can expect it to go ahead, though we don't have the expected date of construction as of writing.

Source: Zaha Hadid Architects

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