Project Type: Senior Thesis
Advisor: Michael Meredith (MOS Architects)
Second Reader: Rubén Gallo
Up to this day, the natural and cultural heritage of the Mexican coasts has been a main touristic attraction for the Western world and a decisive contraption for the Mexican economy. However exotic, these destinations have been idealized, both by the Federal Government and private entities, in order to address and comply with international standards of tourism. In this process, architecture, either through urban planning or the hotel proper, has taken a crucial role in masking the exoticism and authenticity of the destination with a Western vocabulary. Because of its direct relationship to the guest, the architecture of the beach hotel proves to be the main shaper of a visitors’ experience and determines how authentic it may be. By thoroughly analyzing six resorts along the Mexican coast, most of them from different periods and architectural approaches, this thesis argues that there is a particular resort typology that renders the most authentic experience for the tourist. Furthermore, this typology, namely the work of Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta in Cancún and Ixtapa, successfully speaks of Kenneth Frampton’s critical regionalism: the adequate way for a regional architecture to incorporate modernist principles without losing its distinct flavor.
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