Center for Culture and Ecology Quiané

PROJECT In collaboration with the Mexican non-governmental organisation CAMPO the Centre for Culture and Ecology Quiané is planed and build in and with the community of Santa Catarina Quiané, Oaxaca. The new centre creates a space for working, learning, and recreation. The project supports the sustainable and ecological management of the land and promotes traditional as well as contemporary culture. The center include halls, workshops, a nursery garden, gardens for local plant species and a traditional communal kitchen.

CLIENT & CAMPO A.C. The project is based on a commitment with the community of Santa Catarina Quiané and CAMPO a.c., an NGO that has been supporting communities and production cooperatives in their social, economic and ecological development in the federal state of Oaxaca for the last 30 years. CAMPO promotes the self-confidence of the indigenous population and the exercise of their rights.

SANTA CATARINA QUIANÉ is a small rural community in Oaxaca, one of the poorest states of Mexico. Rural exodus, poverty migration, the loss of cultural identity and earthquakes are the major threats the population is facing. The community has a well-organized civil society and a vibrant culture, but no spaces to practice them.

WE ARE 21 students of architecture and civil engineering of the Munich University of Applied Sciences. With the support of professors and experts, we planned and build a cultural and ecological centre for the inhabitants of Santa Catarina Quiané. The experience of building a project in a foreign context by one‘s own hand not only broadend our cultural horizon but increased our professional competence.

WE  created a meeting place for the inhabitants of Santa Catarina Quiané - a place for dancing, working, learning, playing, cooking and eating. In the first phase,  we build a large aula and the sanitary building with an organic water-treatment plant, a constructed wetland for wastewater treatment.


Images and Plans

Technical Description

Even so, Santa Catarina escaped the serious damages from the last earthquake in 2017, seismological hazard is a permanent threat. Earthquake resistanty with low tech and low cost techniques, the use of ecological and sustainable materials and the design considering the aspects of acceptance and appropriateness are the key-issues of this project.

In February, together with the community and your help, we realized the first phase of our project, one of te six halls and the sanitation system.

Complete programme:

1_ Six halls for music, gastronomy, tailoring, arts and craft.

2_ Sanitation system with a constructed wetland for wastewater treatment

4_ Cistern

5_ Photovoltaic system

6_ Gymnasium

7_ Recycling Facilities

8_ Workshops

9_ Assembly space for 500 people

10_Garden for local species

11_Tree nursery

12_ Lombriculture plant

13_Rainwaterabsorption tank

14_Communal kitchen with traditional stove



The Community of Quiané installed elements for an outdoor gymnasium on the ground of the Center for Culture and Ecology and choose the shaded place near the big tree.

The University of Applied Sciences Munich decided together with the community and the local colaborator CAMPO to design and build a second phase of the centre consisting in a second hall or coverd space and the rebuilding of the commuity kitchen.


Book: Quiané DesignBuild Mexico

A book about the planing and building of the Quiané Centre for Culture and Ecology is available on request:

It is bilingual: German and English

Jury 2

At the second jury, three alternative schemes were presented. The decition criteria to select where the following:

overal concept; design quality, use; appropriateness; building phases; feasibility; costs; sustainability; earthquake-adequacy.

After a long and intens discussion, the jury as well as the students voted for the design of group A (former group 4) as final scheme for the further development.


Jury 1

In the first jury, five alterative designs of the whole compound were discussed. The jury decided to extract three different approaches and to merge the similar ones. Group 1 + 2, group 3 + 5 and group 4 continued working for the second jury round.


Konrad Baron, Konstantin Bauer, Raphael Caizergues, Maria Jose Chiriboga Ramirez, Alexander Goncalves da Silva, Ferdinand Hecht, Lisa Holzapfel, Anna Viktoria Kozma, Marinus Kurz,, André Matulla, Dorothea Rader, Thomas Reiner, Maximilian Rottenwaller, Philipp Streit, Philippe Sauer, Merlin Tichy, Johanna Weise, Hannah Wiesenfeld, Melis Yücesan, Jhony Morales, Iván Ramirez, Néstor Reyes, Alejandro Rodriguez
Comunity Santa Catarna Quiané
Collaborating Organisations
Atarraya Taller de Arquitectura; Sebastian Oviedo
Atarraya Taller de Arquitectura; Lorena Burbano
Ferdinand Loserth, Civil Engineer
Prof. Dr. Jörg Jungwirth, Civil Engineer
Financial Support
Hans Sauer Stiftung
Financial support
Financial support
Tesdorpf- Stiftung
Financial support, institutional support
ZUG- für die Zukunft gestalten, Hochschule München
Students travel support
Hochschule München, Faculty 01 and Faculty 02

Academic Discipline(s)
17 Students
Civil Engineering
4 Students
Academic Level(s)
Academic Facts

Site / Structure Dimension
The compound includes 2200 m2.
About 550 m2 indoor space should be build, devidei into 3 building phases.
The first phase will count with approx. 150 m2: an aula, a covered outdoor space and the sanitation with a sewage plant. The kitchen should be renovated.
27000 €
In Kind
Food, accomodation, materials as natural stone and sand by the community
Technial devices as photovoltaik, cisternes, dry toilets by the NGO C.A.M.P.O
Other Budget
Students will cover most of the travel expenses
Project Start
October 2018
Length of Preparation Phase
4 month
Length of Planning/ Design Phase
four month (1st October 2018- 31th January 2019)
Additional comments
This project developed a masterplan for the whole compound and will realize a first step: an aula, a covered space and sanitation in February 2019.
Project Context
Community / Culture | Agriculture / Foresting / Gardening | Environmental Protection
Construction Methods/Techniques