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Designing a Mayan Theme Park With BIM

You can't model that in Revit. Revit is not good for presentations or for design. How many times have we heard these comments or comments like these in the office? Well, when DTJ DESIGN approached me about wanting to design and model a Mayan theme park as their very first Revit project, I found myself challenged and wondering myself, is Revit up to the task? Further more, am I up to the task? After all, Revit is a great 'Building Information Modeling' tool, but what about tribal Mayan column modeling?

The project started with a series of fully scaled hand sketches from the designer.

We took the sketches that were provided, and "Revitized" them. The DTJ Design team then photo-shopped them, and the output was amazing...

Temple of Harvest Elevation

Riviera Maya Restaurant Isometric

Riviera Maya Restaurant Elevation

Riviera Maya Restaurant Close UP

Back of House and Entertainment Stage

You can enjoy live entertainment in the worlds LARGEST wave pool.

There was a whole series of unconventional modeling that took place on the project including the sweeps that were created for the headband of the Mayan figure on top of the temple of harvest.

The use of decals

For performance and efficiency reasons, we did try to use decals to deliver the details whenever possible. The images were already created by the designer, so the imagery was colored, and then applied to the Revit geometry in the example of this column.

The limitation of decals, and the use of materials

One of the challenges that arose with using Revit decals was that Revit applies a rectangle outline to them, so for less conventional shapes, a material was created for the piece of geometry it was being applied to and scaled to fit.

Parametric Components

Since there was some repetition with quite a few of the geometry and details, we tried to capitalize on that and created a lot of parametric components that could be applied to multiple buildings. In this example we are using a simple formula to drive the repetition from its length.

For this beautiful railing detail, traditional revit balusters wouldn't do, so we created a similar formula for this geometry as well.

Rotating Materials

One of the reoccurring challenges that happened was the the orientation of image maps. In this example, you can see the material on the left of the below image is 90 degrees the wrong direction.

For those that don't know, you can switch the view to hidden lines, pick on one of the vertices, and rotate it.

This will resolve the issue.


There were 11 building files, so the use of Revit Keynotes was extremely useful to help with consistency of documentation across multiple files. In case you don't know, Revit keynotes rely on an external .txt file that all the files can point to. Using Revolution Design's Keynote Manager make it easy to manage your keynotes.

Programmatic Schedule

Keeping track of programmatic information for 11 buildings doesn't come without its challenges. We used the out of the box room schedule and some custom parameters to keep track of the different room types, square footage, and departments. This way we could check our programmatic information against the actual.

Roofs by Curtainwall System

Modeling the escalator roof was interesting. They were comprised of 4 main roofs with a sort of jet fighter geometry associated to them

We simply used a Revit conceptual mass, and hosted a revit curtainwall system to it. Then we picked the individual panels, and replaced them with opaque and transparent panels


Many of the details included the parametric components communicated above as well as in place families. The in-place families served the purpose of providing believable positive and negative geometry that could be used to provide design intent for the molds that would be later created. All documentation had to be translated to Chinese.



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