Due to their fast growth, Eucalyptus trees are and excellent source of wood. Eucalyptus House, designed by Brazilian architect Andre Eisenlohr, incorporates the wood of the native Australian tree in its structure, making the most of the renewable material.
Eucalyptus trees boast a number of features that make their wood ideal for decoration, timber, firewood and pulpwood. The trees can be chopped off at the root and grow back again and the wood is commonly used for everything from fence posts to charcoal to cellulose extraction to biofuels.
Eucalyptus House calls for a sustainable building that incorporates materials and construction techniques that minimise environmental impact.
The house, spanning 50 square metres, is located on a steeply sloping site within a forest reserve in Campos do Jordão, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Although it was constructed five years ago, its design remains contemporary.
The floor plan is simple and is organized on one level. The bathroom divides the bedroom from the dining/living area, which is integrated with the kitchen. The interior spaces are connected to a wooden terraced balcony through south-facing sliding glass doors that allow plenty of natural light into the house and offer great views of the surrounding landscape.
On the north side, low windows were built to increase both privacy and passive solar heating and to allow natural light into the house.
The architect noted that design strategies were used to help keep the home both comfortable and energy efficient, such as the use of passive solar energy, thermal rock wool insulation between the walls and solar panels for water heating with a gas supporting system on board.
“We used planks of pine reforestation treated in an autoclave in the outer covering and OSB (Oriented Strand Board) as internal coating, including the bathroom with an acrylic waterproof membrane,” he said.
Moreover, 95 per cent of the leftover wood was reused to build the kitchen wall, its bench and cabinets, and the bathroom counter tops.
The dwelling was built using treated eucalyptus columns and beams, and the floor and deck were built with Muiracatiara timber (native to Brazil) from sustainably-managed areas. Inside the house, the angle of the columns. which creates a feeling of spaciousness inside the cabin, is possible due to metal connectors which are attached to the concrete foundation.
The use of eucalyptus wood for the main roof beams of the roof – which were constructed using a “beam wagon” system – removes the need for a central structural column, creating an unobstructed interior space.
The use of eucalyptus wood in the construction industry is growing in Brazil. Given its ceredentials, use of the wood should also be growing in Australia, with designers and builders using it as an alternative to native tropical woods.