Tectonics, culture and topography inspire the design of 7 Guatemalan schools that elevate the spirit of a Mayan community shattered by war.
In a country still recovering from 30 years of civil war, Guatemala’s “Ixil Triangle”, a group of isolated towns located in the western highlands, was one of the areas to suffer the most. The Ixil community, one of the smallest and most isolated Mayan ethnic groups in Guatemala was the principal target of a genocide operation during the war.
This project consists of 7 new schools in the “Ixil Triangle” as part of a grant from the International Cooperation Agency of Korea (KOICA).
Each new school was designed in an axis that integrates it into a previously existing educational building, which lacked the adequate facilities to carry out its functions.
The area is characterized by a strong cultural legacy visually represented in the traditional hand woven garments, the huipiles, which have a distinctive design and color palette characteristic to each geographical area. The huipiles, along with the breathtaking topography of the Chuchumatanes, the highest mountain range in Central America were the starting point for the design concept of the schools, which seek an architectural composition that stems from three different languages: the tectonics, the huipil and the topography.
The huipil is translated into concrete skeleton fences consisting of a sliding door system that consolidates each building, defining it, and at the same time liberating it into the Cuchumatanes Mountains.
A relationship between the topography and the architectural object was accomplished through the location of each of the modules and their outdoor-indoor relationship, merging architecture with landscape.
This project achieves a relationship between topography, culture and the user at the same time that it improves the positive perception of educational facilities in a neglected area using architecture to dignify and elevate the spirit of the user as it highlights the importance of the cultural legacy of the Ixil people.Location: San Felipe Chenla, Quiché, Guatemala
Architect: Solis Colomer y Asociados
Type: Educational, cultural