This is an archive page for Guatemala

Forthcoming dates for this school to be announced.


Urban Complex Adaptive Systems

Monday 26 June – Thursday 6 July 2017

The main goal of the Visiting School is to explore the complexity of Guatemala with a special focus on finding out the connections between its general extreme conditions and the local or specific responses. Each year, the VS explores a different topic or issue through a 11-day workshop. In 2017, the VS will be focussed on Lake Atitlán. Lake Atitlán is one of the most important natural and cultural icons of Guatemala as well as an important symbolic and spiritual landmark. The lake is also home to 300,000 people who, living on its shores and surroundings, depend on its water to survive.
We will explore the lake by conducing a wide range of activities. From flying drones to filming interviews to local people, from downloading, visualizing and analyzing data from different sources to conducting local surveys to get specific information. We will gain different insights into the lake and its physical and social environment, from different perspectives, and we will eventually work on diverse visions for the future of the lake. Different lectures and conferences will take place throughout the whole workshop, articulating and informing the work in progress and the discussion on the different topics addressed.

The 11-day workshop will take place at three different locations. The meeting point for all participants will be Guatemala City, from where the group will travel to Santa Catarina, where we will have a 5-day stay and will get a first-hand experience at the Lake Atitlán. There, the aim will be to explore the lake, investigate its environmental conditions and meet the particular communities that inhabit the area. Atitlan is the land of the Tz'utuhiles, Kaqchikeles, and Kiche's. Ethnic people descendent from the Mayas, each one with their own language, culture, and traditions. After staying at the lake, the workshop will continue with a 2-day stay at the Casa Popenoe, a 1762 colonial villa in Antigua Guatemala, the former capital of the country, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, the workshop will continue with a 4-day stay in Guatemala City, at the facilities of the Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM) campus, where we will develop different proposals based on the previous analysis and insights.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed
• Teaching team: Gustavo Romanillos, Axel Paredes, Ana Alemán de Paredes, Paola Constantino and Carlos Soberanis, along with different invited tutors, based on their relation to the topic to be addressed.
• 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 22 June 2017
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.

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £890 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.
Fees include tuition, local transportation and accommodation for the duration of the workshop in Santa Catarina (Lake Atitlán), Antigua Guatemala and Guatemala City in the case of international students, including the night before the starting date. Flights are not included.
Students need to bring their own laptops and digital equipment. Please ensure this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen at the workshop.

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

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 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

UFM School of Architecture
Roberto Quevedo (Dean)
Luisa Dougherty (Assistant Dean)
Ana Aleman de Paredes (Academic Coordinator)

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

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

Links & Downloads

Programme site



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