One step forward to a sustainable future, South Africa recently introduced the world’s tallest building made out of hemp building materials. Located in Cape Town, the 84 Harrington Street tower project is a joint venture between two Cape Town-based companies Hemporium and Afrimat Hemp. The 12-storey building comprising 50 units is expected to set a benchmark on how one can build a safe, carbon-neutral multi-storey building using hempcrete and other hemp building materials. Know more about the project on SURFACES REPORTER (SR).
Hemporium founding partner and CEO Duncan Parker, in 2016, brought 84 Harrington with the idea of turning the tower into a flagship Hemporium store, a steak restaurant, and a hemp hotel where people can experience living in a hemp-constructed space. He desired to take hemp construction in South Africa to the next level by encouraging hemp construction projects.
Earlier, hemp houses in South Africa were built using hempcrete. However, for a project of 84 Harrington’s caliber, this was unrealistic. Being inspired by the hemp blocks developed in Europe that are proved to be viable in the construction industry, Parker decided to look for strategic partners in contemporary and sustainable architecture practice Wolf and Wolf Architects and Afrimat Hemp that focuses on carbon-neutral construction.
Benefits of hemp blocks
Today, alongside bamboo, hemp is amongst the fastest growing plants on earth. There is a massive increase in demand around the world for bio-based construction which reduces carbon emissions. Originated from the botanical class of cannabis, hemp or industrial hemp is cultivated specifically for industrial or medicinal use. Hemp is 100 per cent natural, CO2 absorbing, energy-saving and durable. Hemp blocks offer superior acoustic performance, thereby allowing privacy between two units. They also absorb and release moisture, thus regulating the buildings’ internal humidity and maintaining healthy indoor air quality. Since hemp possesses less density, it reduces the load of the walls on the foundations.
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