“Tecilli” means butterfly cocoon in Nahuatl, and the classroom is meant to be a cocoon in which to nurture the children who come to school there. When plans for the school were just beginning, the teacher asked for it to be like a fairy tale room with arches and curves, niches and colorful walls. With the chosen method of construction, strawbale, the arches, curves and an organic feel were easily achieved. Nooks for storage, peep-hole windows and decorated walls were all incorporated into the room.
The main building material, strawbales, were made from locally-sourced agricultural waste straw. Using strawbales from local sources prevents the burning of the material and resulting CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, and it also eliminates the use of costly building materials and energy consumption. Inside the preschool, natural daylighting and ventilation create a healthy and vibrant space in which to learn, plus they help reduce energy use. Additionally the super thick strawbale walls, which are covered with local clay, give thermal and acoustic insulation. The walls are coated with a clay plaster and a natural earthen / lime paint mixture, which in some areas was sculpted into decorative shapes.
A group of community members and parents were invited to help build the school and thus strengthen the bond between the school and community. The result is very beautiful and also much more cost effective. In total the project took about 8 weeks and it only cost about $20,000.