Environmental Learning at “Las Piedras”

Teaching schoolchildren to love and protect their environment is the goal of El Centro Ecologico a Kuchumaa,  a 2,400 sq ft cave-like structure in Tecate, Mexico–known as “Las Piedras” (The Stones). The center was carefully planned to blend with the surrounding landscape and includes a nature trail, classroom, workshop with office, and theater. Formed with thin-shell concrete construction designed to mimic local boulders, the buildings provide a cool, cave-like, magical space for children to learn about nature.

Visitors enter the Kuchumaa Ecological Center through custom carved wood and metal doors into a cool corridor where colorful light from James Hubbell’s stained glass windows dances on the walls. The interiors feature painting and ornamentation that reference the location’s rich history and mythology, including tiered bench seating in the shape of a rattlesnake.

The buildings teach through example, using thermal cooling tubes and site orientation to create passive cooling and heating.  Natural lighting also increases energy efficiency.

Located within a green space developed for the city of Tecate by the Fundacion La Puerta, this project was created in collaboration with Arquitectura Solar, Sarah Brightwood and Enrique Ceballos, among others.

Featured in an articles by Felicity Loughrey in Black+White magazine, November 2001;  Thomas Shess in San Diego Magazine, February 2002; and Pat Tyson in Baja Traveler, 2002.

To visit “Las Piedras”, please contact:
Fundación La Puerta
info@fundacionlapuerta.org
011-52-665-654-8478