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Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala

April 2021


Manuel Antonio Pineda Fernández (Design Director), Juan Fernando Gándara Cifuentes (Design Director)


Carlos Burgos (Lead Designer), Carlos Prado (Lead Designer), Luz Reynoso (Designer), Carlos Santis (Designer), Guillermo Castillo (Designer


Inversiones Inmobiliarias Fosban, S.A.; Grupo Rosul


Luis Alejandro de León Soto


XPO1, the initial phase of our architectural venture, is strategically located at the gateway to Guatemala City’s Civic Center. Faced with the challenge of a triangular site, we chose steel construction to optimize efficiency, incorporating a mixed-use design that features commercial spaces on the ground floor and office spaces above. The building’s form harmonizes with the Civic Center’s entrance and the March 11th roundabout plaza, enhancing the coherence of the urban fabric. Our innovative approach included a culinary market to foster community engagement, aiming for a design that promotes security and interaction, thus contributing to a safer and more attractive cityscape.

The subsequent phase, QUO, addressed the preservation of a significant 50-year-old willow tree, reflecting our commitment to heritage and sustainable development. The design carefully accommodates parking without harming the tree’s roots, while the building’s orientation and the creation of an open axis underscore our dedication to environmental sensitivity and community pride. QUO combines residential, office, and retail spaces, encouraging active community interaction through thoughtfully designed public areas. A plaza, enriched with shops, becomes a vibrant locale for social, commercial, and cultural activities, linking XPO1 and QUO and enhancing the neighborhood’s vitality.

The interstitial space between XPO1 and QUO evolves into a versatile park, offering a myriad of public experiences and serving as a magnet for diverse groups, from skaters to social media enthusiasts. This unprogrammed area thrives as a lively community hub, embodying our vision of dynamic, inclusive urban spaces.


XPO1 - QUO, situated in Zone 4 of Guatemala City, often referred to as Canton Exposición, stands as a testament to innovative urban planning. Drawing inspiration from Georges-Eugène Haussmann’s transformative redesign of Paris, this locale is distinguished by its streets, which are uniquely aligned at a 45-degree angle, and its blocks, originally segmented into quadrants facing the cardinal directions, bisected by the main artery, now known as 7th Avenue.

In 2003, the district witnessed a 4% annual decrease in population, predominantly due to industrial dominance, leading to a gradual residential decline. This spurred a movement among entrepreneurs towards urban renewal through the development of commercial spaces. While initial efforts showed promise, they inadvertently resulted in urban disarray and diminished community cohesion, escalating to public unrest and heightened insecurity, rendering the area largely abandoned.

Notwithstanding, the subsequent introduction of multifamily housing ignited a more organic regeneration process, with an increasing population catalyzing the demand for essential amenities such as workspaces, supermarkets, and pharmacies. The post-2008 economic recuperation period marked a pivotal moment for private investment, initiating large-scale projects tailored to meet the locale’s burgeoning needs and rectify existing shortcomings.

Integral to this revival was the emphasis on community involvement, aimed at instilling a collective sense of belonging and pride among residents. The establishment of public-private partnerships played a crucial role in this endeavour, facilitating the development of infrastructure and services essential for fostering a high-quality urban life. These concerted efforts have significantly propelled Canton Exposición towards becoming a dynamic and thriving urban enclave.


XPO1 and QUO mark a significant shift from Guatemala City’s traditional architectural methodologies, which are often dominated by security-driven design principles. By steadfastly pursuing integrated project designs, we aim for sustainable viability, envisioning structures that break free from enclosed barriers and fortified exteriors. This approach directly challenges the city’s architectural status quo and addresses the critical lack of public spaces—a reflection of broader urban planning challenges overshadowed by security and health concerns. Our dedication to incorporating public areas into our designs not only fulfills client requirements but also enriches the city’s communal landscape with innovative urban design solutions. This strategy bridges individual client needs with the collective urban narrative, thus influencing Guatemala City’s architectural identity.

The establishment of a 2,000 square meter plaza between XPO1 and QUO exemplifies the profound impact of public spaces on urban renewal. Initially met with skepticism, the plaza now thrives as a vibrant community hub, stimulating neighborhood revitalization and adjacent area development. It hosts cultural events and recreational activities, serving as a beacon of positive transformation and a symbol of urban revitalization potential throughout Guatemala.

Moreover, the cooperative engagement among developers in this project illustrates the effectiveness of joint efforts in elevating urban design standards. This partnership underscores the importance of shared visions and collective endeavors in fostering community betterment, enhancing architectural quality, and nurturing a unified, purpose-driven stakeholder community, ultimately steering Guatemala City towards a safer and more lively future.

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