While planning and building our Hostel in Tena we selected mostly local and sustainable materials. We used local timber, sometimes collected from storm damage and mainly Bamboo as building material. The leaves of the palm tree Paja Toquilla are used for roofing and although they are a challenging material they are attractive and microclimatically beneficial.
In comparison to wood, bamboo belonging to the grass family Poaceae, has several obvious advantages: As bamboo is lignified „Giantgrass“ it grows very fast and in tufts. When bamboo is harvested only the stems that are straight and tall enough are taken, the tuft stays intact and continues to grow. Bamboo has a high strength-to-weight ratio because it is hollow inside, which is useful when it comes to logging and transportation. The Guadua-bamboo we use grows in the area around Tena.
Unfortunately using bamboo as building material often has the image of a poor man’s material in Ecuador. That is why even though bamboo is common in the province of Napo few people and architects are interested in it as a building material, whereas the situation is quite different in the coastal regions. For this reason we want our Hostel in Tena to be an example of the qualities of bamboo as an ecological building material. Especially favourable is the cooperation with a local Kichwa craftsman, whose skill was an enrichment during the construction of our house.