Centre for Culture and Ecology Quiané II


The municipality of Santa Catarina Quiané and the local organisation for the defense of land rights decided to build a center for culture and ecology to demonstrate their self-determination and self-esteem as a rural community and to strengthen their cultural identity, related to land-use and landscape, appreciating precolonial customs. The municipality provided a building plot. The Oaxaquenian cooperation-partner CAMPO a.c. supported the community in the development of this project. A first plaing and buildin-fase was implemented in 2018-2019 Quiané Centre for Cultre and Ecology. (link), providing an auditorium, a sanitation unit and a galery.

Based upon this first phase 1 and a dialog with the local stakeholders, the next construction phase started in October 2019 a new group of students of architecture and civil engineering at the Munich University of Applied Sciences designed and planed further buildings in coordination with the community and the local NGO CAMPO a.c., taking into account the existing buildings and the spatial concept of the master plan of phase 1. A large covered hall and the urgently needed rebuilding of the kitchen was executed in February 2020

Every day a family cooks about 80 meals for 20 families. The existing kitchen is a roofed open fireplace run with wood, It is a health hazard for the cooks and the children as there is no smoke outlet. Cooking (the Mexican kitchen has the status of an immaterial world cultural heritage) is the union of culture and nature, the material that is produced from nature is transformed and converted into a cultural asset. The new cuisine thus becomes the symbol of the Center for Culture and Ecology.

For the students, the project offers the opportunity to test their previously purely academic strategies in and against reality.

Technical Description

The predecessor project was erected as a sleeperless, modular timber-frame construction. The outer walls are filled with unfired clay bricks or window elements.  In the region, massive clay block construction with 40 cm thick walls is typical, optimal for the semi-arid climate and the cold nights.

In the second phase it will be examined whether the system will be adopted or adapted or whether other types of construction based on the use of clay and wood, such as rammed earth, solid adobe building or bajareque will be chosen.

Decisions for the selection will be the appropriateness in relation to the concept, the time and cost frame, and the acceptance of the clients.



- clicking on the picture at the left, you can follow the process-

Walls comprising a woven lattice of wooden strips or branches daubed with a clay mixture are common in Latin America and, as a building technique, probably go further back than clay bricks. The technique is known as bahareque, bajareque, or quincha in Latin America, and as wattle and daub in English.

The technique used for the project in Quiané was a modified version of the bahareque technique and, because it was easy to learn and required little equipment, was also quick to implement. For the walls in Quiané, the students created a vertical structure made of recycled wooden slats taken from the formwork, and interlaced it horizontally with sections of giant reed (carrizo in Spanish).

The completed wattle panels were then filled with a mix of sandy clay, water and cutted pine needles until the reed sections were covered. On top of this came a two- to three-centimetre layer of clay render. After leaving the panels to dry for a few days, the students returned with sponges and trowels to apply the finishing coat and render the panels sufficiently water-resistant. Protection from the elements was afforded by the large roof overhangs on the buildings. An additional protective layer could have been achieved by coating the walls in a liquid made by cooking the leaves of the prickly pear cactus (nopal).

loadbearing structure of the hall

- more information by clicking on the left picture-

The structure supporting the auditorium roof comprises six double trusses and is a made entirely of wood. It was designed so as to allow the individual parts to be constructed and prepared on the ground so that only the assembly work needed to be performed up high.

The process of assembling the structure was nonetheless extremely challenging. The trusses at the front of the building are held in place by V-shaped supports, while those at the rear rest on a timber frame construction that houses the storage rooms. Because the two outer trusses have a far greater load to carry than the four in the middle, two different truss types were used. The outer trusses feature a lattice design while the middle trusses have no bottom chord (so as to offer greater ceiling height).


foundation and formwork

- more information by clicking on the left picture-

With a project like this, you need to constantly monitor costs and sustainability.

In this context it was decided that the formwork elements for the plinths would be used multiple times. To this end, the students created detailed, formwork plans for the kitchen, auditorium and gallery plinths, outlining which elements could be used multiple times and in which areas.

They then constructed the formwork elements on site, brushing them with formwork oil (sunflower oil) to ensure that they could be easily detached from the concrete, and erected them as designated. After completing the concreting process, they carefully removed and cleaned the formwork. The formwork for the auditorium was constructed using the formwork elements used for the kitchen, plus a few additional elements. The moisture in the concrete had caused warping in a few of the already used boards, which the students rectified with the aid of additional nails. After oiling the boards, the students got the formwork ready for concreting the auditorium plinth.

After concreting the kitchen and auditorium, the students turned their attention to creating the spot footings for the gallery. For this, they again cleaned the formwork, then dismantled and rebuilt it, adapting it to the smaller column footings. By this point the condition of the boards had deteriorated significantly. While additional nails and screws initially counteracted the problem well, the students eventually had to resort to tensioning belts and screw clamps, and put in a night shift, to complete the final plinths.


Choosen design

- more information by clicking on the left picture-

Merging three proposals from a second preliminary design round to a singel one, we are sure to follow a straight concept, interpreting the master plan and elaborating the kitchen-building, a new hall and the in-between spaces.


decisionmaking process

- more information by clicking on the left picture-

CAMPO showed and discussed the design proposals with the authorities in gatherings in Santa Catarina Quiané. The plans were layouted in A3 format to easily be printed. A projector enables the group- discussions.

After the meetings, skype-sessions were held where the conclusions werde discussed between CAMPO and the students and organizors from the HM.

The conclusions were sumarized in a protocol, avaiable for al students for further development.

Preliminary design

Four proposals developed different approaches of the second phase of the Quiané Centre for Culture and Ecology based on the existing master plan and buildings and in communication with the local stakeholders.

Three different concepts were choosen to be developed further. One main concept will serve as master plan, incorporating solutions from the others. Based on this master plan, the buildings to be executed in February will be designed and calculated in the next weeks.


MUAS: A.M. Braun, M. Chiriboga, E. Eichinger, M. Felber, M. Fernandez, K. Franzl, M. Gutmann, M. Hartel, A. Hoelzel, S. Kayser, D. Lins,, M. Mangas, F. Menz, E. Neubauer, L. Ostermeier, I. Pinto, J. Schuldt, M. Schwarz, A. Sedlmeir, L. Völkner, Universidad La Salle Oaxaca: M. Alvarado Cruz, R. Avendaño Ríos, R. B. Mendoza, R. A. Cruz Quintana, B Gasga Pérez, J. P. Pérez Martínez, S. Villacaña Sosa
Community of Santa Catarina Quiané, Oaxaca, Mexico
Collaborating Organisations
Project Implementation
Training on the job
Project Implementation
Atarraya Taller de Arquitectura; Lorena Burbano, Sebatsian Oviedo
Project Implementation
FK 02 Civil Engineering, University of Applied Sciences Munich; Prof. Dr. Jörg Jungwirth
Project Implementation
University of La Salle, Oaxaca
Karl Wagner
Dr. Hilde Strobl
Cesar Morales
Eduardo Torres
food, accomodation, building materials, craftsmanship, transportation
Municipality and Comunity Santa Catarina Quiané
Loans for co-teacher, students travel and printing costs
Hochschule München, ZUG Project
Financing of Construction
Tesdorpfsche Gemeinnützige Stiftung
Financing of Construction
Rotary Clubs München Blutenburg and München Martinsried
Financing of Construction
Sto Stiftung
Financing of Documentation
Hans Sauer Stiftung
logistics, tools, transportation, roof, sanitary equipment
many more firms and organsations, see logos underneath

Academic Discipline(s)
Architecture Hochschule München
14 Students
Civil Engineering Hochschule München
5 Students
Architecture + Engineering La Salle University Oaxaca
8 Students
Academic Level(s)
Academic Facts

Site / Structure Dimension
Expected about 100 m2 covered space
21000 €
In Kind
- Community of Santa Catarina Quiané: Food and accomodation, building activities and logistics
- CAMPO: implementation and logistics, watermanagement + photovoltaik instalations, roofing material
Other Budget
in kind:
- Festool, Hultfors, Sticker: tools, machines, equipment, safety-cloths
- Spax, Rothoblaas: screws
- Zimmerei Förg (carpentery workshop)
Project Start
Length of Preparation Phase
3 month
Length of Planning/ Design Phase
4 month
Project Context
Project Type
Community / Culture | Agriculture / Foresting / Gardening
Construction Methods/Techniques