Azulik is a resort in Quintana Roo, Tulum, Mexico. Eduardo Neira, also known as “Roth” and founder of the architecture firm, Roth Architecture, created the design and construction of the property.
Azulik is a sustainable project with an environmental and social level, which seeks to connect humans with nature. Through biomimicry as a guide, it intends to be part of nature without imposing itself and destroying it, while always recognizing the pre-existing life in the place contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Biomimicry is recognized as “a science that emulates the best ideas of nature to solve human problems by creating new technologies,” according to the Biomimicry institute. Therefore, Azulik seeks through multisensory to connect nature with human beings, creating a harmonic language between science, experience, and identity. In this case, ancestry plays a fundamental role as the project seeks to create experiences that reconnect us with our origin and integrating us into the jungle as well as the memory of the place.
Regarding the design, Azulik connects the contemporary and ancestral with organic and spiral movements. According to Neira, everything was born intuitively and organically, and for this reason, mainly the design is inspired by the place’s ecosystem. “We seek to reconnect with the thought forms that were alive in the place before and want to express themselves.”
Neira also points out that when we have a direct approach to nature, shapes are never orthogonal; instead, they are always curved. For this reason, the spaces obey those pre-existences of the place, the intelligence of nature.
The team wanted to avoid following any of the conventions of architecture. They tried to break with all the previous ways of doing things; instead, they used intuition to discover what space and nature needed to dignify it. In this process, something enchanting started to appear, and it was a multi-sensory experience.
When touring the space, the multi-sensory experience awakens and sensitizes the inhabitant through exploration and discovery. The existence of the space is related through the movement and expressions of the place, thanks to the materiality, the textures, the visuals, the light, the decoration, the structure, the nature, the water, the aroma, everything plays an important role. It is like being immersed in the most beautiful artwork, which exalts life, existence, and the essence of everything.
“Taking off our shoes is also an attitude of respect towards the land we walk on, a willingness to take part from humility, with the understanding that our position in the world is equal to that of other beings,” says Neira.
Another point in Azulik’s design is that the original relief of the ecosystem was respected, which means that the architectural work does not rest directly on the ground. Rather, it is practically suspended on it by a system of piles and platforms.
On the other hand, the community has played a fundamental role in the artwork from different areas. First, all the Bejuco’s structures (climbing plants, typical of tropical regions) are handmade by local artisans. Inside the resort, there are also exhibition spaces displaying local works. In itself, Azulik is a museum that exhibits collaborative work and exchanging experiences.
All in all, Azulik seeks to reconnect us with our origin, stimulate creativity through ancient wisdom, and promote art as a healing method for humanity.
Without following a rigid architectural blueprint, Roth designed intuitively, telling Cultured magazine that he was “working at the rhythm of the Mayans” so as to harmoniously engage with nature. He avoided the use of straight lines and sharp angles, echoing the design principles of Antoni Gaudí. But Roth pushed this idea further: there is no sense of division between outside and inside and his building materials were largely sourced from natural fibres in the surrounding jungle.
Completed in 2017, the first site was built without a particular purpose. Upon visiting the unoccupied construction in early 2018, Rumney-Guggenheim realised that the project (reminiscent of his great grandmother’s Art of this Century space, the New York gallery designed by Frederick Kiesler in 1942) could be transformed into an arts complex. Roth almost immediately accepted his proposal, and SFER IK Museion opened to visitors four months later.
Overlooking the Caribbean coastline, Tulum is a well-known tourist destination famed for its pristine white sand beaches. It sits to the south of towns like Playa del Carmen and Cancún in the middle of the Yucatán Peninsula, in area known for its rich Mayan history and ancient ruins. The name Azulik refers to the history of the area, the word being a portmanteau of the Spanish word for ‘blue’ and the Mayan word for ‘wind’.
If you can afford one of the beach villas at the Azulik hotel the entire place could be experienced as a holistic sanctuary, although its status as one of the most Instagrammed hotels in the world might ultimately make finding peace and quiet tricky. The Uh May residency and exhibition space is close to the ancient pyramids of Coba and not far from the famous Chunyaxché ruins. Outside the town, one can dive into the aquamarine subterranean freshwater caves of the Cenotes.