Cultural Center in Tulum

Once a quiet village squarely situated amid verdant jungle, spectacular coast, and archeological ruins, Tulum is a study in contrasts, where contemporaneity, nature, and pre-Hispanic history battle to coexist. The new cultural center is an expression of Tulum’s dichotomy, its organic architecture seemingly self-generating from the very heart of the jungle, the latest salvo in the battle between nature and civilization.

While this relationship is filled with tension, art serves as a bridge and allows the two to coexist and continue to grow. Without civilization, we would not have the evolved mind to appreciate art, and without nature art would have no beautiful content to express. Thus, both nature and civilization are needed to manifest art, and art is what allows them both to coexist, a fitting inspiration and manifesto for the new Tulum Cultural Center itself.

In its mathematical proportions and morphology, the building’s form resembles an inverted vault surrounding a void that doubles as an amphitheater. The inverted vault extends the unique structural geometries of the Maya arch by extruding its long-span structure, with exceptional flexibility in the display and performance of culture’s many manifestations and tensions, whether ancient or modern, traditional or contemporary, static or dynamic, passive or active.

These seemingly peculiar conjunctures are in harmony as expressed through the new Cultural Center’s program and architecture, a figurative bridging of Tulum’s contrasts and tensions.






8,750 m2 / 94,184 ft2


Tulum, Mexico



Serving the main function of an art and culture hub with a central courtyard, the Tulum Center is an expression of the pre- Hispanic culture and blends organically with the environment.



Fernando Romero, Alba Díaz, Gaia Cella, Luis Torres, Alexandra Luckianova, David Forsyth, Libia Castilla, Adriana Merchant, Luis López, Pablo Morales, Liza Bandala, Óscar Caballero.


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