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Sustainable in Nicaragua: Living in a Bamboo House

Article Summary:

Ecofriendly living has a new champion, as a Granada firm kicks off its bamboo offerings with this house’s architecture and furnishings in Nicaragua.

Photo Credit: Houzz

Original Article Text From Houzz:

My Houzz: Sustainable Bamboo for a Prototype Home in Nicaragua

Oren Pollack moved from the United States to Nicaragua two years ago to join his parents in finding ways to make the world a better place. He quickly founded a nonprofit agency called Sports Donations for Impact, which connects Panama with baseball equipment, Brazil with soccer gear, South Africa with basketball equipment and Nicaragua with boxing supplies.

The house in which Pollack now lives also has the potential for an equal amount of positive social impact. Pollack’s parents, Ben Sandzer-Bell and Peta Kaplan, conceived The Bambu House as a prototype product for a sustainable bamboo design and manufacturing firm in Granada called CO2 Bambu, which offers affordable, ecofriendly housing solutions in the area. The Bambu house was a springboard for their efforts, and is a life-size laboratory that tests as many different uses for bamboo design as possible.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Oren Pollack and his 5 cats
Location: Granada, Nicaragua
Size: 800 square feet; 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
Cost: $40 per square foot

“I felt the house was my own the first time I climbed down the stairs to fill an entire bucket with ripe mangos. In mango season this daily collection has become a ritual,” says Pollack.

The bamboo is grown in the municipality of Rosita, Region Autonoma del Atlantico Norte (RAAN), in the northeast region of Nicaragua. CO2 Bambu has built a large bamboo processing facility there and has trained local community members to harvest the bamboo.

The house columns were harvested from five-year-old bamboo.

All the plants in the garden were purchased in neighboring Catarina, a village that boasts Nicaragua’s largest collection of nurseries. The garden includes creepers hanging over bamboo, avocado and pomegranate trees. In this lush tropical climate, the garden reached fruition in just two years.

A local wood called cedro macho makes up the stair treads.

The small stone sink on a bamboo cabinet off the main bedroom was carved in a nearby village for $25.

Keeping with the eco building philosophy, the deck was built around a large coconut tree instead of the tree’s being chopped down. “Now I can walk out of my bedroom, reach for my machete and cut myself a fresh
Bamboo loft doors open to a deck overlooking the garden and the nearby Mombacho volcano.

“During the rainy season, I am convinced there is nowhere better to be than in the upstairs bamboo loft, with the rain pounding down on the roof; it is truly an indescribable experience,” Pollack says.

The bathtub is made from stones that Pollack’s parents collected during multiple trips to their favorite beaches in Nicaragua.

“My favorite spot is upstairs in the bedroom with the windows open towards the lake and bamboo doors open towards the volcano, experiencing forceful wind blowing through the loft. The height of the bamboo loft and its proximity to the fruit trees make it feel like being in a tree house,” Pollack says.

The bed frame and the armoire were built onsite. All of the furniture was designed and built by CO2 Bambu. Bamboo trusses raise the roof above the walls for additional airflow.

“Extremely friendly neighbors” surround Pollack’s home, he says. “They made me feel a part of the neighborhood instantly and are some of the sweetest ladies in Nicaragua.”

Along with his five cats, he also enjoys hanging out with an array of animals that inhabit the area.

“When I am in this house, I feel at one with nature. The bamboo and the light have a magical quality. For me, this house is truly unique and very special — my home is my sanctuary,” Pollack says.

Link to Original Article:

From Houzz

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