The National Theatre in Guatemala

by Francisco Méndez

Russland (Ausgabe III/2015)

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The National Theatre in Guatemala City. Photo: Carlos Tuyuc


When I look out of the window in my editorial office, my gaze falls on a unique building: the Gran Teatro, which in solitary fashion towers over the historic center of Guatemala City. The theatre with the Great Hall and the Chamber was built on a hill where a castle stood in the Spanish colonial period. The Gran Teatro is the work of one of Central America's most important visual artists, Efraín Recinos. The construction of the theatre lasted from 1961 to 1978, interrupted by a coup d'état.

Recinos wanted to create a building that was one hundred percent Guatemalan: That's why he incorporated elements of Mayan culture - the stairs of the theatre resemble the steps of Mayan temples and the balconies are shaped like huge jaguar heads. The building blends in harmoniously with its surroundings: Recinos chose the colours white and blue for the façade, which helps it merge into the sky. He designed the floor plan so that the theatre never obstructs the view of the imposing volcanoes near Guatemala's capital. Looking at this building makes me feel inspired for my next article.



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