Architects looking to lessen the carbon footprint of their projects are using hemp more and more frequently. Here is a collection of nine structures made from the adaptable cannabis plant.
Growing research indicates that in order for the construction industry to contribute to reducing emissions and containing global temperature increases, it must adopt bio-based alternatives to widely used carbon-intensive construction materials, such as concrete.
Hemp, a rapidly proliferating relative of the cannabis plant that is already extensively utilized as a biofuel & textile, is one such alternative that is getting greater attention.
Hempcrete, a durable, excellent insulator, and mold-resistant composite made of hemp fibers and lime, is frequently used in construction.
The Voice of Urban Nature by Overtreders W, Netherlands
The garden pavilion in Almere was built by the Dutch firm Overtreders W using pink-dyed hempcrete inside of demountable timber modules, which they claimed to be a building first.
The concept was designed by the firm as a model for a building system that would facilitate the construction of reusable structures.
Pierre Chevet by Lemoal Lemoal, France
French studio The Pierre Chevet sports complex was constructed in the French town of Croissy-Beaubourg using blocks made of hempcrete.
Using an interlocking mechanism that doesn’t require mortar or adhesives, the blocks were put together dry. While the outside of the building is covered with white cement-fiber panels, the interior walls were given a hemp plaster treatment to hide the texture of the hempcrete.
Flat House by Practice Architecture, UK
The ground-breaking Flat House was created by Practice Architecture and the hemp-growing Margent Farm to show how the plant might be used to quickly construct a home with very little embodied carbon.
Large hempcrete panels were prefabricated by the studio in collaboration with designers and material experts, and they were then assembled in just two days to create the house’s structural shell.
Internally, the textured paneling was left exposed, while the exterior of the home was covered in hemp-fiber tiles.
Rue Marx Dormoy social housing by Barrault Pressacco, France
Hempcrete was utilized in this project by the French architectural firm Barrault Pressacco to recall the historic Parisian apartment buildings’ thick façade and bow windows.
The structure, which houses 15 social residential units and two stores, was constructed using layers of hempcrete sprayed over gypsum-fiber panels fastened to a timber framework.
Ein Hod house by Tav Group, Israel
The Haifa-based Tav Group created this hillside home in an artists’ community in northern Israel with the idea of using exclusively locally produced, sustainable materials.
To give the building its sandy appearance, the main floor’s hempcrete walls were heavily plastered with earthen materials.
Geraardsbergen house by Martens Van Caimere Architecten, Belgium
The outer walls of this Belgian home were renovated by Ghent firm Martens Van Caimere Architecten, but the hempcrete was left exposed.
The project’s textured appearance pays homage to the beautifully striated environment that surrounds the village of Geraardsbergen.
Elisa and the 11 Swans by Studio AX, Denmark
This pavilion at Chart Art Fair 2022 was created by architecture firm Studio AX and hangs eleven knitted hemp “wings” from the timber arms to pique interest in the history and origins of biomaterials.
The 11 garments that Elisa, the main character in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Wild Swans, must knit to free her brothers from a curse, are symbolized by the wings.
Tigín Tiny Homes by Common Knowledge, Ireland
Corrugated hemp panels from Margent Farm are used to cover this large caravan, which was built by the Irish social company Common Knowledge for people who struggle to afford their own houses.
The panels, which were chosen for their lightweight because the Tign Tiny Homes are transportable, were manufactured by fusing hemp fibers with an agricultural waste-derived resin with a sugary basis.
Clay Fields by Mikhail Riches, UK
When it was constructed in 2008, this complex of 26 affordable houses designed by London studio Mikhail Riches—then known as Riches Hawley Mikhail—represented the country’s first usage of sprayed hempcrete.
Isonat, an insulating material made of hemp and linen, was also used in the Suffolk project, and a common biomass boiler that burns woodchips from the area heats the homes.
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