A Volcano Journey

Monday 2 – Wednesday 11 July 2018

This year the Guatemala Visiting School proposes A Volcano Journey. Volcanoes, one of the most sublime forces of nature, have had an immense impact on human settlements throughout history from Pompeii to Antigua Guatemala. Many people live in close proximity to volcanoes across the globe, from Indonesia to Japan, the Philippines, Italy, and many countries in South and Central America including Guatemala.

Volcanic areas become some of the most fertile landscapes on earth. They are a source of water and also provide nutrients to the surrounding soil. Human beings often take advantage from volcanic flanks to re-create astonishingly rich agricultural lands. In addition, volcanoes provide building materials and many human settlemetns are built using volcanic deposits such as basalt or diabase.

The Guatemala Visiting School focuses on how volcanoes have shaped Guatemalan cities, society, culture and economy. Our intention is to predict and reflect on possible future projects and initiatives to foster local economy and development. With this aim in mind, we will suggest new forms of sustainable tourism, infrastructure, urban and architectural interventions. We will travel to different volcanoes, providing a first-hand experience of the existing agricultural production and tourism activities. We will meet and interview local people, collect data and make videos with drones.

Eventually, we will produce a Digital Atlas, creating online maps that will dynamically illustrate our analyses and proposals. A series of lectures will take place throughout the workshop, articulating and reporting on the work underway while and discussing the different topics addressed.

The 10-day workshop will be held in two different locations.The meeting point for all participants will be Guatemala City, from whence the group will then travel to Antigua Guatemala. This is where we will establish a 7-day base camp and will conduct field trips, travelling to different volcanic areas. We will climb up the Pacaya volcano and visit the areas close to the Acatenango volcano and the Agua volcano, and more. After our stay in Antigua, the workshop will continue with a 3-day stay in Guatemala City, at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM) campus’ facilities, where we will develop different proposals based on the previous analyses and insights.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

  • Facilities: Universidad Francisco Marroquín, School of Architecture
  • Computational skills: The basic use of CAD software and 3d model skills are desirable. Students will be introduced to the use of Geographic Information Systems, Digital Design and Digital Fabrication so, regarding this, no previous knowledge is required. 
  • Digital Fabrication: UFM has a computer lab, 2 laser cutters, 1 CNC router, 3D printer and wood shop available for the use of students during the workshop
  • Theoretical understanding: Through different lectures, conferences, readings, site visits, and open discussions, students would be introduced to the specific urban topic they would have to address.


1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School page. If you are not able to make an online application, email for instructions to pay by bank transfer. 
2) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered to the programme. A CV or a portfolio is not required.

The deadline for applications is: 15 May 2018

The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, phd candidates and young professionals.


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £695 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.

Fees also include local transportation and accommodation for seven nights (1-7 July) for non-local students in Antigua Guatemala and the night before in Ciudad de Guatemala.

Fees do not include the nights from 8 to 11 July. Booking in adavance is recommended for these last nights. Flights are not included.

All participants travelling from abroad are responsible for securing any visa required, and are advised to contact their home embassy early. After payment of fees, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.

All participants are reponsible for their own insurance including travel and health insurance. All participants also need to ensure that any equipment and valuable items such as laptops are covered by their own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen.

Programme Head
Gustavo Romanillos is an architect interested in the spatial analysis of urban dynamics and social behaviour. He teaches at the Architectural Association School of Architecture of London and at the Complutense University of Madrid, and has been guest lecturer at several universities in Spain, the UK and Latin America. As an architect, he has been awarded in several international competitions of architecture and urbanism; as a researcher, he works at the Complutense University of Madrid and, as a consultant, he has worked for different institutions, such as the United Nations Development Programme.


Programme Head
Gustavo Romanillos

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

T +44 20 7887 4014
F +44 20 7414 0782

Links & Downloads


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