Chukum, an ancestral material in mexican caribbean architecture -

Chukum, an ancestral material in mexican caribbean architecture


Discover some of the best projects in mexico that use chukum.

In the Yucatan, architects revive an ancient Mayan stucco technique for contemporary buildings, blending modern architecture with regional history and culture.

The technique called “chukum” is derived from the colloquial name of the Havardia Albicans tree native of Mexico. Made from chukum tree bark, the material has several defining qualities that separate it from traditional stucco, including waterproof properties and a natural, earthy color. Although the chukum initially fell out of use after the Spanish conquest of the Mayan civilization, it was rediscovered and reused by Salvador Reyes Ríos of the architecture firm Reyes Ríos + Larrain Arquitectos in the late 1990s, starting a resurgence of use in the area.

The chukum tree is a thorny, semi-hardwood tree found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and is also used to dye textiles and tan leather. To create chukum stucco, the bark of the tree is boiled twice and then mixed with cement, after which it can be used to finish concrete walls or even swimming pools. Chukum bark gives stucco its water-resistant quality, setting it apart from other types of stucco that must be finished with artificial additives or topcoats to achieve the same level of impenetrability. For this reason, it can be used both indoors and outdoors. Chukum bark also naturally gives stucco its earthy, pink color, creating a warm, rustic atmosphere for Yucatan buildings and homes.

These benefits have facilitated the increasingly widespread use of chukum in Mexico, including in both new constructions and preservation projects.

Below we show you an exceptional examples of chukum use in contemporary mexican southwest architecture.


Another project that uses this practical material is Mar y Miel, located in the Aldea Zamá. Composed of large spaces and fine finishes.

Finally, Yantra Condos is another project that has decided to use this ancestral technique to keep each space fresh and thus give its clients the most incredible comfort. Located in the heart of Playa del Carmen, this space can make your life an excellent experience due to its proximity to the entire city and the charming finishes it has.

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