The 95 foot long Quetzal Cordwood Classroom is located in the rain forest near Coban, Guatemala.  Built by the Community Cloud Forest Conservation it is a long curved structure that resembles the tail feathers of the Quetzal (the national bird).

CCFC 2017F.jpgThese buildings house classrooms, kitchens and dormitories that serve the middle school girls from the area. The girls are able to continue their education and learn skills that are income producing.  Many volunteers and organizations have helped in the support and construction of this wonderful community.  Rob & Tara Cahill are the Directors.CCFC 2017BThe shingles are recycled tires and are donated by a Canadian shingle company.  They are guaranteed to last for 100 years.  A comforting thought in the rain forest!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Quetzal’s have high stone foundations to funnel the ever-present rainwater away from the buildings.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cafeteria is bright and colorful.

CCFC squash and cordwood Guatemala.jpgThe community grows traditional fruits and vegetables (local squash is pictured above) and has an industrial kitchen to make jams, jellies and salsas to sell on the world market.CCFC 2017DThe beautiful windows are handmade by local artisans.CCFC 3 July 2017.jpgStudents learn valuable skills that help them with high school and employability.


The Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala.   The tail feathers of the Quetzal are the inspiration for the buildings. CCFC 38 Elvira.jpgElvira, a graduate of the Cloud Forest Conservatory, is teaching plant identification and their uses to a group of visiting students.   There is also an ornithology program run by Cornell University.   Many unique species of birds and plants are to be found in the adjacent rain forest.


The architect of the curved window and his drawing. CCFC 1QYoung students were taught masonry skills to erect the buildings. CCFC 1A with logoThe front porch is a valuable and beautiful teaching space.CCFC cleaning the cordwood before mortaring 1 with logo Cleaning logs for the cordwood infill.

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Laying the logs in mortar with an insulation cavity filled with sawdust.

(Below) River stones were used for the shower rooms and the entrance ways.

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The building is framed with local, non-native, invasive eucalyptus and the cordwood infill is local pine.

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The local population provided the labor and were paid a fair wage for their work.

CCFC rebar for seismic activity

Should you wish to contribute, visit, work or learn more about the Community Cloud Forest Conservation please contact Rob & Tara Cahill.

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The Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 has a wonderful article about the Quetzal Cordwood Classroom. 

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:   Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided instruction for thousands of cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop Video (2017),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.

Here is a picture of the Cordwood Workshop DVD cover, featuring the best practices Cordwood Education Center.

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For more information on Cordwood Construction, click on the picture or visit   Below is the 30 item DVD menu. 

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