Landwirtschaftsschule Bella Vista

Global issues like rural migration and the rapidly growing urbanisation of our cities, increasing poverty and the threat of climate change are challenges that play a crucial role in the search for locally effective solutions in architecture. For architects and planners, the question arises how the profession can contribute most efficiently to enhance the living conditions and what spatial strategies can be developed to reach this goal.

CODE - the department of architectural design and construction of Prof. Pasel at the Technische Universität Berlin has dedicated itself to this task with an interdisciplinary long-term project situated in the Andean village of Bella Vista in Bolivia. In an international collaboration with the ecumenical foundation Fundación Cristo Vive Bolivia that works on poverty reduction in Latin America, CODE has implemented a new agricultural school building. Under supervision of Prof. Pasel and his team 40 students have designed, planned and realised the project together with local partners. The implemented school building is part of the vocational school “Sayarinapaj” that offers young students coming from rural areas a professional perspective within the field. With the building of the agricultural school an exemplary new campus will be established as a centre of innovation in the greater area of Cochabamba and central Bolivia. The school building not only meets the outstanding architectural requirements but also serves as a role model in terms of energy consumption, water and waste management as well as more ecological farming.

Result of the first design and construction phase (2013-2015) is a building that is based on a modular concept offering six flexible classrooms. It consists of three massive volumes each of them comprising two classrooms and an additional space that serves as an archive, a laboratory or an installation room for the integrated solar plant. One continuous shed roof structure covers the whole building including two intermediate open air spaces between the volumes to ensure natural ventilation. These ‘in between spaces’ allow for the connection of two classrooms into a larger multi-functional room.

Technical Description

The design was developed in a one-year process. In a conceptual design phase the students developed 12 different projects, each of them exploring a specific topic that was relevant for the general understanding of the Bolivian context; such as low-cost building processes, regional and traditional building methods, climate-based design, sustainable constructions as well as participatory processes. Subsequently under supervision of Prof. Pasel and his team the students developed a new ‘final’ project design that formed a complex synthesis of the findings of the 12 previous designs. After another 5-month thorough planning and detailing phase, construction work finally started in July 2014.

On site, local partners were actively involved into the implementation process and trained in innovative building techniques: the teachers and students of the vocational school “Sayarinapaj” and the local University Universidad Mayor de San Simón. Additionally, a women cooperative of 20 female bricklayers of the NGO Procasha became part of the construction team and received a vocational training.

With simple but effective means the building responds to the extreme climatic conditions. The massive brick masonry compensates the daily fluctuation of temperature, thus allowing for a comfortable indoor climate. The ventilated roof construction prevents the classrooms from overheating. Its orientation ensures an adequate supply of daylight in the classrooms and the optimal declination of the roof for the integration of the solar system.

The concept of the modular structure of the building allowed for a building process in different independent implementation phases. During the first phase in summer 2014 the students of the TU Berlin were able to realise every element of the modular construction at least once. Simultaneously the women of Procasha were trained in these building techniques in order to copy the construction work under supervision of a team of four TU Berlin project-leading students until the next team of students arrived and finished the work and detailing in spring 2015.  


Fundación Cristo Vive Bolivia
Karoline Mayer, Präsidentin
Collaborating Organisations
Project Implementation
Fundación Cristo Vive Bolivia
Project Implementation
TH Köln, Prof. Blieske, Cologne Institute for Renewable Energy (CIRE)
Project Implementation
TU Berlin, TEK - Fachgebiet für Tragwerksentwurf und -konstruktion, Prof. Rückert
Universidad Mayor de San Simón
Lorena Valdivia
Franziska Sack
Johannes Zix
Cristo Vive Schweiz

Academic Discipline(s)
40 Students
Renewable Energies
5 Students
Academic Level(s)
Academic Facts

Project Start
Project Context
Project Type
Care / Education | Community / Culture | Agriculture / Foresting / Gardening
Construction Methods/Techniques