Cecotz' , San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala

Centro Educativo Maya Tzutujil

The architectural design for this school for about 200 prospective teachers in Guatemala was developed within the context of a diploma thesis at the University of Stuttgart at the Institute of “Baustofflehre, Bauphysik, Technischen Ausbau und Entwerfen” in the winter semester 2012/13.

In co-operation with the German non-profit associations Esperanza e.V and Oyak e.V  the planning task was defined already in the run-up to the project with the promise of realization in future.


Architectural design

The building zone of the new school "Centro Educativo Comunitario Maya TZ'utujil" is located in the region Solola, in the central highlands of Guatemala, 1.5 km away from the center of the indigenous village of San Pedro la Laguna, at the foot of the San Pedro volcano. The area directly adjoins the municipal nature reserve "Volcán San Pedrochuwanima Juyu".  The architectural design is based on the typical building structure of Guatemalan schools. After an analysis of the existing school complexes in the area, the block structure, a central courtyard with a sports court, an open loggia, as well as adaptation to the terrain were defined as the most important architectural characteristics of school architecture in Guatemala. In addition to these characteristics, a further decisive aspect is the consideration of on-site naturally occurring events and risks. These include the semi-annual rainy season, possible landslides because of the strong slope of the land, the risk of earthquakes as well as the hazard of tropical cyclones. The objective was, to include all of these factors in the most cost-effective design. Due to the isolated location on the edge of the nature reserve, an ecological and economic planning with traditional building techniques and materials was specifically important to the planners.

Images and Plans


Technical Description

Due to the imminent risk of earthquakes and the steep slope, the final design was a modular two-storey building complex, based on the typical block structure and adapted to the slope. Each building module follows the same design. The ground floor is a massive, earthquake resistant structure built in a traditional clay brick construction technique. The upper floor is built in a flexible design with clay walls(bahareque) and a bamboo bearing structure.


Transportation of Skill
Project Context
Project Type
Care / Education | Community / Culture | Environmental Protection
Construction Methods/Techniques