Bevan Architects recently completed construction on this simple, light-filled Hemcrete holiday cottage on a riverside apple orchard in Northern Ireland. Hemcrete is a carbon-negative material made from the hemp plant that provides excellent insulating properties and a much lighter environmental footprint than other building materials. The low-impact retreat beckons visitors to escape from urban life and experience a breathable, natural dwelling.
Bevan Architects‘ peaceful rural holiday cottage offers a discount for travelers who arrive on foot or bicycle. The home responds to its rural context by incorporating elements of local building vernacular and using low-impact and high-performance materials. The frame is built from locally sourced Douglas Fir timber. The home is located next to (but well above) the flood level of a fast flowing river, and the northern side features a green roof. To the south a slate roof ensures the cottage blends in with the more traditional buildings of the area.
Not only do Hemp and lime walls sequester carbon, they also provide fantastic thermal and acoustic performance. The walls are breathable and able to absorb and emit moisture, creating a far healthier interior space than conventional building methods. The roof of the cottage is insulated with 350mm of sheep wool insulation, so there’s no chance of even the tough Northern Irish winter seeping in. Due to the insulating properties of the hemp-lime composite, no plastic membranes or toxic membranes were used in the build. Videos document the techniques involved in creating the walls.
With a total construction cost of less than £100,000, the 70 square meter home is a great model for individuals or small families interested in building their own carbon negative abode. Thanks to excellent documentation of the project, a recently published book on hemp lime construction, and a feature spot in the Guardian’s top 10 eco homes, Bevan architects are well-poised to help others create location-sensitive, energy-efficient dwellings.
Images via Bevan Architects