The world’s ‘first Hemp skyscraper’ in Cape Town is almost complete
The Mother City has taken another defining step towards an environmentally sustainable future with the construction of a new 12-storey building at 84 Harrington Street nearing completion.
The original five-storey building will be deemed the world’s tallest building constructed from hempcrete blocks and other hemp building materials – Cape Town’s first ‘hemp skyscraper.
The new hotel, which will be home to around 50 apartments, was bought by Hemporium’s co-founder, Duncan Parker in 2016, and the exciting project has been undertaken by hemp producer Hemporium in partnership with Afrimat Hemp and Wolf + Wolf Architects.
The previous record for the world’s tallest building made from hemp belonged to a nine-storey building with 24 units in Italy.
Once complete, the building will house Hemporium’s flagship store and the Hemp Hotel.
While a traditional frame is still required for construction due to load-bearing limitations, all of the walls are made from hemp blocks.
The hempcrete blocks, made of hemp shiv and a formulated lime mix, are believed to be carbon negative. This means that more carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere by the growth of the cannabis plant than what gets emitted by its production and application, making it extremely environmentally friendly.
Hempcrete blocks further support sustainable living by lowering the need for heating and cooling systems since this plant-based material has great thermal insulation qualities and will thus save on energy consumption and expense.
According to SA People, Hemp projects are taking off around the world, and it’s predicted that within five years it will be normal to use hempcrete (which is poured like typical concrete) or basic hemp blocks, they save money in other ways, such as reducing the construction schedule by up to 30%.
Unfortunately, the Cape Town project has been more expensive because hemp had to be imported from England. But, with hemp cultivation licenses issued in SA last year, prices will drop for future projects as blocks will be sourced locally.
Parker told the New York Times that once supply issues are sorted, hemp will become a construction staple in South Africa. Wolf + Wolf Architects will next take on a housing development with 25 000 homes, made from hemp blocks.