PLASART Art School

Tulum, Mexico
Community Center

The color spectrum as a means of dealing with the world’s plastic problem

Plastic is a big word that describes a wide range of materials in different configurations and applications.
Some plastics can be recycled while some cannot. They can be in opaque or translucent colors, while some are even ecologically friendly with several advantages in site construction.
We believe that awareness and daily habits are the key for make significant change in our environmental impact. Therefore, our proposal implements ideas for re-use of non-recyclable plastics alongside solutions that interact with the nearby community for plastic collection and recycling.

These ideas have to be solid, clear, remarkable and colorful.

In order to immerse in the natural surroundings, the project leans on the traditional Mexican home principles. Its vibrant colors, tropical climate adaptation, high wooden beams and the implementation of passive ventilation techniques. These values are reflected in the design and operate as a whole with our approach to the plastic problem.

Recycling awareness - The project aims to attract the passersby by exposing them to a more sustainable recycled way of building construction. The main colored wall serves as the core of the building and divides the different functions. Additionally, it welcomes the neighborhood to contribute to the changing facade of the building by sorting their used plastic bottles by color. The visitors have the opportunity to interact with the children as well as viewing their art made with recycled plastic-based paint, allowing them to see the direct effect of their contribution.

ReUse - Thermoset plastics are an irreversible type of plastic. The most common example can be found in site constructions. Pipes, drainage and irrigation systems cannot be recycled, but can be reused. The project walls are made of local adobe reinforced by reused 4” PVC pipes. The pipes cut into to the required wall width and used in two ways: as a closed patterned wall and as a kind of “mashrabiya”.
Another reuse feature- the sorted recycled plastics stored within the main wall may also be melted and reused as paint for the children’s artwork.

Sustainable design - The pipe mashrabiya provides passive ventilation while allowing for privacy from the street. The sloped roof is designed for accumulating rainwater and used for the garden’s irrigation. The roof also equipped with a number of solar panels facing south provides energy for the building.
As an alternative for nondegradable materials adobe is applied in the project as a biobased material. The inexpensive technique is easy to construct and provides numerous ecological advantages.

We believe the use of color and dynamic design will engage the community and can in turn create a safe and inspiring environment for the children.

(Group work with Roy Schneid)