Architects: Steffen Welsch Architects
Project: Hemp House
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Photography: Rhiannon Slatter
Hemp House, a dual occupancy home for three generations to explore co-housing, was built in a combination of rammed earth, timber and Hempcrete walls. It created a very beautiful and healthy environment; pulling it all together involved courage and adventure which for all ended up being a very rewarding experience.
We became aware of Hempcrete through an article of Kevin McCloud. We were amazed about the suitability of hemp as a building material. This project is the first hemp house to be built on the Australian mainland.
It has always been our view and experience that when building sustainably you need to look beyond the hard and cold facts and provide an environment that has other qualities in addition to being environmentally sensitive, using less resources and energy. In other words, if it is not beautiful, functional and affordable, people won’t do it.
The term ’environment’ also includes qualities like aesthetics, acoustics and air quality among other things. Hemp seemed to tick a few boxes. In addition to its environmental credentials we liked that it can breathe and regulate the humidity inside which from experience contributes to the comfort within a building. It has a porous surface which absorbs sound and contributes to pleasant acoustics within a room.