This Mayan-Inspired Train Station Keeps Heat Away Without Mechanical Ventilation


There are 2 main things that the Mexican beach resort Tulum is known for (except being a hotspot for today’s influencers). One is the rich culture of the pre-Hispanic Mayan civilization, and the other is the extreme weather, typical for the tropical climate of the Yucatan Peninsula, with high temperatures and raised humidity levels in the summer.

Aidia Studio, a Mexican and English architecture firm, has taken both of these characteristics and used them as the basis for a surprisingly innovative project, the future Tulum train station.

The 14,400-square meter (155,000 square feet) construction was designed to take-up as less space as possible and to make use of that space in the most efficient way. This is why the lead architects went for an eye-shaped structure that’s widest at the center, with stacked platforms and vertical circulation. The grand hall is undoubtedly the focal point, where light and natural ventilation converge.

This is possible thanks to the striking large roof, with a lattice structure and strategically placed glass (window-like) sections. This way, the smaller openings prevent heat from coming in during the hottest hours of the day, while the larger openings placed on the sides allow an increased influx of air and light, when the temperature begins do go down.

Plus, the aerodynamic shape of the roof (a free form dome or a gridshell) is able to capture the ocean breeze and channel it throughout the station. Due to this innovative structure, people going in and out of the Tulum station will enjoy a comfortable temperature, without the use of mechanical ventilation.

The other thing they’ll enjoy will be the beautiful Mayan-inspired combination of light and shape. The traditional geometrical shapes used for the roof design project magical patterns on the walls and the station’s floor, through a captivating dance of light and shadow.

A contemporary take on the Mayan architecture, the Tulum train station proves that climate-related challenges can lead to an atypical, sustainable solution. Construction is set to begin next year and finalized by the summer of 2023.