Design Studio WS 00/01



Architectures (as well as all other monuments of the early Maya high culture) in the tropical regions of Central America are subject to increasing destruction. This is caused on the one hand – as already in the past centuries – by the extreme climatic conditions; on the other hand by exposures and subsequent questionable protection measures. At this point, concepts are needed that show new ways of dealing with places and works of this exotic ancient American culture by means of concrete constructional approaches. Unlike in European latitudes, where archaeological sites can be found largely below the level of today’s city, the relics of Maya cities – except in zones of rainforest – stand out as hilltops in the landscape even when not excavated. The elevations, which can rise up to 60 meters, in turn contain predecessor buildings, most of which were overlaid in layers. These testimonies of the past are endangered after their uncovering predominantly by the tropical climate and by lacking protective measures. Furthermore, the demand for adequate presentation leaves much to be desired. A special find was made by the Mexican Department of Antiquities in 1998, when in the main complex of Ek Balam, Yucatán (Structure 1, 155m wide, 75m deep and about 32m high) under the frontal stairway the extremely well preserved main facade of a predecessor structure was uncovered, showing a huge pharyngeal entrance. Since its uncovering, the facade has been protected under a temporary palm-leaf roof or by blue plastic tarpaulins. Visitors have not yet been allowed to enter. However, since the site is located in the middle of tourist development and the find is not only of scientific but also of artistic importance, it is necessary to find an appropriate solution that ensures both the protection and an adequate presentation of the work.


This design program is supervised on a weekly basis. For submission, a design concept including full representation, construction of a model on a scale of 1:20.