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Following Estudio Urbano’s work going from strength to strength for twenty years, Classical and Vernacular Architecture and Urbanism are here to stay. Pedro and Maria demonstrate time after time that classicism is a living language which is instinctively loved by people of all origins, ages, incomes and creeds. — Leon Krier

ESTUDIO URBANO is an architecture, design, and urban planning firm and network based in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Founded in 2001, Estudio Urbano was established by Pedro Godoy and Maria Sánchez — partners in life and in work — as an incubator for traditional architecture and urbanism. They, along with their team of collaborators, apply timely and time-honored design principles of beauty, firmness, and utility to respond to a given place and requirements of modern life. Estudio Urbano creates architecture and cities that are sustainable and contribute to the well-being of every person, thus encouraging neighborhoods to flourish and enhance society at large. 

Skilled and passionate in all its endeavors, the team at Estudio Urbano seeks always to enhance local history, culture, and building traditions, not only to re-establish or reinforce the identity of a place, but to design with a unifying classical language. Fluency and understanding of regional differences; their societies, materials, climate, and topography is truly at the heart of establishing thriving communities for people to love now and for generations to follow. Estudio Urbano creates possibilities for pride of place while revitalizing a way of life, whether with buildings or urban planning or both. 

Steadfast in their commitment to create beautiful, ennobling places for humankind, the founding partners and their distinguished design partners serve clients internationally and in Guatemala. The firm’s portfolio includes custom residential architecture, urban design, and institutional, commercial, and ecclesiastical commissions. Additionally, as pioneers of urban design charrettes in Guatemala, Estudio Urbano provides consulting expertise in this intensive and complex process both at home and abroad.

Globally acknowledged by the traditional architecture and urban planning community, Estudio Urbano is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, has been featured in exhibitions on three continents, and is widely published.

Maria Fernanda Sánchez

Co-Founder & Director

A POLYMATH who envisions the practice of classical and traditional architecture as a creative continuum to enhance modern life, Maria Sánchez is an architect and urban planner who, with her husband and business partner, Pedro Godoy, established Estudio Urbano in their native Guatemala City in 2001. Maria and Pedro share an energetic, forward-thinking outlook and are determined to improve life for inhabitants of cities, particularly in Guatemala, by invigorating traditional design principals long forgotten or ignored.  Estudio Urbano was founded to be a collaborative enterprise with a mission to bring the highest quality of design and execution to every project. In addition to her design and charrette leadership expertise, Maria also manages public and international relations for the firm and is a fiercely articulate advocate of traditional architecture and urbanism.

Maria grew up in Guatemala City with a love for the visual and performing arts, which was fostered by her mother, an art historian and professor. Maria’s youthful exposure at home and also from travel offers her a rich cultural background from which she draws to this day. Her own innate gifts led to hosting local television and radio shows, among other artistic pursuits, but ultimately, her chosen field of architecture provides the tent under which she dedicates her focus to history, philosophy, theology, sculpture, and design. Her architectural studies began at the University Francisco Marroquin (UFM) where she studied side by side with Pedro and where together they advocated for a more traditional curriculum. She continued her architectural education at the University of Notre Dame — esteemed for its unusual emphasis on classical and vernacular architecture within traditional urbanism — and earned her master’s degree in architecture as well as the Ferguson, Shamamian, & Rattner Graduate Prize for Academic Excellence.

Since Estudio Urbano began, Maria’s instinct for leading a unified vision with Pedro has served the firm well. Commissions such as the new cities planned in collaboration with acclaimed master planner Léon Krier are ongoing and include Ciudad Cayalá, Guatemala, where Maria and Pedro are the Town Architects, and Herencia de Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. These extraordinary planning designs as well as architectural endeavors like the Holy Mary Queen of the Family Catholic Church, Ciudad Cayalá, and Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Mexico (designed in collaboration with Léon Krier), have been recognized by the architectural and planning communities with a number of awards and accolades. Maria’s contributions have also appeared in various media in Guatemala and abroad.

To this day, Maria continues her relationship with her alma maters, UFM and Notre Dame, where she enjoys guest lecturing and serving on the Advisory Council for the Notre Dame School of Architecture. She has also shared her sensibilities and expertise adjudicating awards given by INTBAU, The Prince’s Foundation, and the ICAA. Maria is currently sculpting religious iconography that references and inspires the sacred architecture she designs.

In all that Maria does, her underlying desire is to promote and define places with smart planning and buildings that reference the richness of traditions dismissed and untapped. This latent heritage is what Maria wishes to bring back to life as a foundation for designs that establish identity and connections, a humane sense of belonging, functionality, elegance, durability, and beauty, especially in Guatemala. She strongly believes that it is possible to recover the past to build for a dignified and prosperous future. A future that is more responsible, peaceful, and meaningful for all. To that end, Maria and Pedro conceived of a non-profit foundation called Arte Civico. As directors and co-founders of this organization, they endeavor to support an integrated vision of placemaking in Guatemala and an awakening to a different way of life.

Maria lives with her husband, architect and urban planner, Pedro and their five children in Guatemala City.

Professional Affiliations:
INTBAU College of Traditional Practitioners, member
Advisory Council, University of Notre Dame, member
The New Urban Guild, member
Arte Civico, Co-Director and Co-Founder

Pedro Pablo Godoy

Co-Founder & Director

LONG INTERESTED in looking at the history of the built environment in a way that serves communities now, Pedro Godoy is an architect and urban planner specializing in traditional forms and principles. His efforts to achieve architectural compositions and solutions that have a lasting, positive impact come from adapting vital concepts from traditional architectural and construction methods, as well as from deeply understanding the societies, culture, and history of a given place. It is Pedro’s dream that the work of Estudio Urbano will successfully render from history what can once again provide secure and walkable cities and buildings.

Pedro established Estudio Urbano with his wife, Maria Sánchez, whose professional path and design philosophy mirror and complement his own. In his multifaceted métier, Pedro serves as Senior Project Manager & Designer, spearheading design, working closely with clients, and administering day-to-day operations. Together with Maria and their team, Pedro has brought together a collaborative network of respected local and international talent to design sophisticated projects that range from low-income housing to custom residences and from restorations of historic town centers to envisioning new communities and towns from the ground up. Pedro’s work is currently found in Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico, Europe, and the United States.

A native of Guatemala City, Pedro studied architecture at the University Francisco Marroquin (UFM), where the defining trend among faculty and students at the time was theoretical and strictly modernist. Although UFM is one of the most highly regarded universities in Latin America, Pedro and Maria, among others, advocated for the study of classical architecture in spirited debates with their instructors and classmates. Their keen interest was encouraged by Professor Warren Orbaugh, who inspired them and recommended that they both attend graduate school at the revered School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame. Subsequently, Pedro received his master’s degree in architecture from Notre Dame, where he was honored to receive the Ferguson, Shamamian, & Rattner Graduate Prize for Academic Excellence. His early career included consulting with such respected firms as Duany & Plater-Zyberk and Dover-Kohl & Partners. He also consulted with the City of Miami.

Since 2003, notably, Pedro and Estudio Urbano have worked with renowned urbanist, Léon Krier, on two ambitious masterplans of similar size and scope. One is for Herencia de Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and the other is for the new city of Cayalá, an extension of Guatemala City. Other current projects include new towns on the Caribbean Coast and the historic city of Antigua. Pedro and the firm have regularly appeared in the press and have garnered a number of prizes for competitions as well as for built work and large-scale projects such as Cayalá, where Pedro and Maria serve as Town Architects. To further affect positive change in tandem with the work of their firm, Pedro and Maria are also Co-Founders and Directors of Arte Civico, a nonprofit foundation that promotes an integrated vision of placemaking in Guatemala via education and advocacy.

Pedro hopes that Estudio Urbano contributes to a greater awareness of the built environment and demonstrate show history can inform new developments for the good of society. His ambition is to reach the general public and municipal leaders with the power of traditional city planning, which is relational, human-scaled, and connected. In addition to his practice, Pedro is a lecturer at both his alma maters — most recently at UFM, where he taught a graduate level course in real estate development — as well as at institutions around the world.

Pedro lives with his wife, architect and urban planner, Maria Sanchez, and their family in Guatemala City.

Professional Affiliations:
INTBAU College of Traditional Practitioners, member
Advisory Council, University of Notre Dame, member
The New Urban Guild, member
Arte Civico, Co-Director and Co-Founder

Marc Landers

Co-Founder and Design Collaborator

Leon Krier

Senior Architect
Rodrigo Bollat Montenegro

Suhelen Ajcip
Rafael Gómez
Rudy M. Pineda
Saraliz Hernández
Juan Carlos Avelar
Andrea Avelar
Bianca Pagliara

América Polanco
Wendy Marroquín

Richard Economakis
Jennifer Griffin
John Griffin
Jamshid Sepehri
Liam O’Connor
Steve Mouzon
Adib Cure
Carie Penabad
Andrew Cameron
Rick Hall

Carmen Maldonado
Waseem Syed
Vicente Aguirre
Giuseppe Calvinisti
Juan Carlos Menéndez
Rita Villanueva

In appreciation of Pedro Godoy & Maria Sanchez

Following Estudio Urbano’s work going from strength to strength for twenty years, Classical and Vernacular Architecture and Urbanism are here to stay. 

Pedro Godoy and Maria Sanchez and their Estudio Urbano team are the lead architects and uniquely responsible for the style and appearance of Paseo Cayala as a whole. Without their dedication, their immense social and artistic talent and their tireless efforts on the ground, the Cayala experiment, now recognized across the world, would quite simply not have happened. 

Their work is the empirical demonstration that the worldwide modernist ban of classical  architecture and urbanism from teaching and practice since WWII are a historic and philosophic error, doing untold damage to the planning professions and with it to our built environment and polity. The modernity and beauty of Estudio Urbano’s work in Guatemala and now in Mexico, is embraced by developers, by builders and above all by residents and users. 

Pedro and Maria demonstrate time after time that classicism is a living language which is instinctively loved by people of all origins, ages, incomes and creeds. It needs no translation, explanation, justification, or excuses.

Most significantly, the enterprise they are engaged in is a capital experiment in rebuilding our torn cities, our divided societies. They thus perpetuate and enrich the built public realm inherited from the Greek, Roman and Christian Polis without which Democracy cannot live.

— Leon Krier, March 2020