Ecological Research Center for Social, Infrastructural, and Education Resilience
The Ecological Research Center proposes a strategy for the reoccupation of an abandoned factory building and its surrounding landscape in Culebra. Aimed to build robust capacity in Culebra for ecological research and education, this project will be able to serve as a development engine for the island through promoting ecological tourism, improving its education system, and functioning as a pivot for a more diversified and sustainable local economy. This project recognizes the potential of promoting the development of the Culebra community through synthesizing ecological research, education, and other needs identified by local residents. The provision of gathering and storage spaces will diversify local residents’ daily activity options as well to provide emergency services in the event of climate or seismic hazardous events. Progressing from a fundamental objective of providing housing and laboratories for participants of research projects on and around the Culebra island, the Center also explores the possibility of improving the local education system by connecting researchers and the school-age population. Rather than a frozen plan, the proposal takes the opportunities identified with the Ecological Research Center to serve as a complex that is structurally flexible and that accommodates not only all the desires of its stakeholders but also different financial constraints. Responding to the high cost and long timeline needed for this project to be completed, a phasing plan is proposed that ensures the lowest financial burden on local government and the maximum viability of the building at each phase.