This Brazilian bungalow outside of Sao Palo in the Araucaria forest made the dream of a small mountain retreat a reality for a couple - and the stylish retreat has an extraordinarily low impact. The project was conceived by Architect André Eisenlohr, who has a knack for taking modest, often salvaged materials and turning them into poetic homes. The house is a mere 40 square meters inside, but the sweeping butterfly roof and front and back deck opens it up to the Floretal Park natural reserve below. The Pinus House is a clear example of the low-impact approach that rural homes can take to enhance rather than detract from the landscape by using materials and placement thoughtfully.
The home’s low-impact design goes well beyond its use of raw and minimally processed materials. The home is set on only six piers and constructed with beams and eucalyptus poles, so it can be disassembled in the future and will leave just a trace of its impact left on the landscape. The structure supports a single floor and is topped with a roof that flares out. A section of glass tucked below the canopy gives the home access to plentiful natural light and views all year-round. The northern glass also gets direct sunlight in the morning and winter. The upper windows open to create a cooling cross breeze. The structure’s bridge-like design minimizes material use, and the exposed supports and projecting roof line gives the home a kinetic quality – it looks as though it is ready to take flight.
Insulation in the temperate climate of 1,800 meters above sea level is achieved by stuffing expanded polystyrene (better known as Styrofoam) which was salvaged from trash and packaging into the walls. The project is capped with Onduline roof tiles which are made from cellulose materials and have an R-value comparable to cork.
The interior is finished in raw plywood and pine, and finger-jointed cabinets are made from FSC-certified, sustainably harvested eucalyptus – a hard but fast-growing wood. Waste wood from constructing the shell was used in the interior, reducing the project’s waste materials dramatically. Two solar thermal panels heat domestic water, off-setting the home’s electrical demand.