As designers and architects continue searching for innovative, sustainable building materials, hemp is becoming a front runner in the world of green design. In fact, London-based firm Practice Architecture collaborated with local hemp farmers in Cambridgeshire for the Flat House — a zero-carbon home built using hemp grown on-site.
To create the amazing home, Practice Architecture’s team headed to Margent Farm, a massive 53-acre farming facility in rural Cambridgeshire that cultivates its own hemp supply. The innovative farm also has an on-site facility that produces bio-plastics made of hemp and flax.
Working with the farm’s experts, Practice’s team went about designing a home prototype to showcase how the eco-friendly material could be used on a large scale. Although hemp is now a fairly common material used to manufacture everything from clothing to biofuel, its potential for creating sustainable buildings is still being explored.
Adding to the home’s innovative construction is the team’s use of prefabricated panels made from hempcrete — a mixture of hemp and lime. Built off-site, the panels were transported back to the farm and assembled in just two days. The studio explained to Dezeen, “Developing an offsite system allowed us to build efficiently, at speed and to build through the colder months of the year — something that can be difficult with standard hemp construction.”
The resulting Flat House is an example of hemp construction’s potential. The roughly 1,000-square-foot home is not only carbon neutral, but also operates completely off-grid. Thanks to a large photovoltaic array on the roof and heating and power provided by a biomass boiler, the home generates all of its own energy.
And for those who may doubt that hemp construction can be contemporary and fresh, the home’s aesthetic is also gorgeous. While creating the home’s frame, the architecture studio worked with experts at the farm to develop hemp-fiber tiles, which were used to clad the home. Each tile was secured into place with a sugar-based resin sourced from agricultural waste.
Throughout the interior, the hemp panels have been left exposed, giving the living space a unique earthy look that is complemented by several timber accents. A tall ceiling and ample windows enhance the home’s healthy atmosphere.
Images via Oskar Proctor