Hacienda Tzalancab: Cultural and sensory experience
The Tzalancab Hacienda and its magnificent gardens: an intervention that successfully fuses historical buildings with an impressive vegetal variety. New nuances are added to the past and both come together to create a unique sensory experience.
We entered the property through a Sacbé (“white road”) immersed in the lush vegetation of deciduous low forest.
We began to understand the immensity and thickness of the ground (which covers approximately 3,000 hectares). The heat and the humidity of the station, as well as a symphony of birds and insects, were the first elements that welcomed us to the place.
The specimens of Henequen (Agave fourcroydes) lining the road up to the Machine House1, remind the visitors about the past of the property, which was used for the exploitation of the fiber of this plant, during the boom of the commonly called “green gold”, in the nineteenth century; later the hacienda was destined for livestock use, currently it is used with housing and recreational purposes.
Since the property was acquired by the current owners the Architect Alberto Kalach has conducted interventions including the restoration of buildings and the development of a landscape project along different areas of the property.
We continued our tour in the company of our guide, José Poot. We kept walking until we noticed amid the vegetation a place confined between walls: we had reached the “Garden of the Ceibas”, made up of impressive specimens of that species (Ceiba pentandra), several of which have witnessed the history of the hacienda for 150 years.
Admiring the main house we noticed how they managed tokeep most of its original architectural features.
Their porchesserve as landscape observation terraces, from where wecontemplated in the south, “Garden of the ceibas” and from thenorth the porch the ornamental garden with Cycas revolutas, Zamias furfuráceas; trees like the pich (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), of enormous dimensions, specimens of pixoy (Guazuma ulmifolia), ceibas and other species.
On the roof of the main house a “green roof” has been installed, this area was converted into a renewable energy source, since it inserts solar panels that activate the pumping system and with this energy circulates the water of fountains and waterways surrounding construction.
When we left the main house, we visited the orchard, which has been restored on its original place by Architect Kalach. In it we got to appreciate citrus trees, fruit trees, and the traditional kanché (Mayan crop table) with some aromatic herbs.
THE DECK AND POOL AREA
The recreational pool area is preceded by a trail covered of malangas (Alocasia macrorrhiza) and ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata).
THE PALM GROVE
A spiral-shaped path accompanied by hedges formed by different species of palms, embraced a space of contemplation and reading.
Play area dedicated to children, also called “Croissant” for its shape. Its different slopes function as slides.
A corner covered by landscape design, where like in the main house, Architect Kalach added an external staircase in order to use the roof as observation terrace.
All excess of water is deposited in a wetland, where the solitude of space invites a variety of wildlife, which makes its appearance at night.
Interventions like this show that the rescue of abandoned historic buildings, starting from a responsible and authentic restoration, hand in hand with sustainable landscaping; are an example of success, which needs to be replicated in many places in our country, which are unfortunately getting lost.
1 Building that contained the machinery used to process the henequen fiber.