Guatemala Izabal Lake


Izabal Lake and Amatique Bay

Monday 22 July – Thursday 1 August 2019

In 2019, the AA Guatemala Visiting School will travel to the astonishing department of Izabal, an extraordinary territory opened to Amatique Bay, a large bay along the eastern coast of Guatemala, in the Caribbean Sea. The department surrounds Lake Izabal, Guatemala’s largest lake, connected to Amatique Bay through Río Dulce.

This year, the objective of the AA Guatemala Visiting School will be to explore these two extraordinarily relevant ecosystems of Guatemala, Lake Izabal and Amatique Bay, rich and complex from the environmental, the social and the economic points of view. We will work at two different scales. First, we will study this territory at a large scale, with the aim of understanding the different dynamics of these wonderful landscapes and identifying the main problems and the most important challenges. We will visit different villages, we will interview local people, we will produce new cartographies of the most underexplored areas by learning and applying aerial mapping techniques with drones, etc. Then, we will work at a closer scale, with the objective of defining more detailed architectural projects in response to more specific problems and needs previously identified.

The 11-day workshop will be held from the 22th of July to the 1st of August 2019, at two different locations. The meeting point for all participants will be Guatemala City, from whence the group will travel to Misión El Faro (The Lighthouse), near Livingston. This is where we will establish a 7-day base camp, from whence we will conduct all field trips, traveling to different locations. We will explore the Guatemalan Caribbean coast, the Amatique Bay, visiting different small villages as well as Livingston and Puerto Barrios, the two main cities. We will navigate along Río Dulce and will visit Izabal Lake. After our stay in Livingston, the workshop will continue with a 4-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 and Mision El Faro, Livingston. Guatemala.
• 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 and Digital Design, 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: 1 July 2019

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.

Two locations in Guatemala: Livingston (Izabal) and Guatemala City.



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


Gustavo Romanillos is and architect, urban planner and PhD in Geography, his work focuses on the visualization, spatial analysis and modeling of urban and social dynamics. 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

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

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

Links & Downloads

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Visiting School Prospectus


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