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Evan Douglis Studio


Chendru Starkloff, Ryan Hu


Buro Ehring


CNC Milled Laminated Recycled Plastic Sheets

Recycled Expanded Aluminum Rainscreen

Reinforced Concrete Structure

Lewis Carroll, the author of the legendary children’s book Adventures in Wonderland, once said that, “imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” Given the broad number of existential risks we face as a global community concerning our changing environment, the depletion of our energy resources and the growing social injustice we find throughout the world today, the moral imperative to educate and inspire the next generation of young people to reimagine the planet in the most beautiful and glorious ways has never been more important.

Given this as the larger context, and the catalyst to create an extraordinary environment for teaching and learning for the children of the City of Tulum, our project Chromatopia was conceived as a dreamlike terrestrial paradise. Inspired by the phantasmic paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, the surreal depiction of magic in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories, and the essential value of ‘play’ as a critical means of transmitting knowledge in early education, as discovered by Friedrich Froebel, the primary idea of our school proposal is to unleash the poetic imagination of the child.

In response, we propose an exotic chromatic veil made entirely out of recycled plastic that encompasses the entire interior of the building. Envisioned as a magical shroud, it begins its ascent upward as a forest of gyrating columns into the sky, expanding effortlessly in all directions. Imbued with a changing rainbow of chromatic patterning reminiscent of imaginary geological formations, the indescribable atmospheres on distant planets, and the chimerical fantasies of a child, the school as we know it to be is now remade as a contemporary Garden of Delights.

Tulum School for Art, Wellness, and Environment
Quintana Roo, Mexico

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