Cape Town boasts tallest building in the world using hemp building materials

Bruce Whitfield interviews Wolf Wolf, founder of Wolf & Wolf Architects, about the hotel being built in Harrington Street.

Image of thermal insulation coatings with hemp @ france68/123rf.com

The Mother City now has another accolade to its name - it features the tallest building in the world to be constructed using hempcrete blocks and other hemp materials.

The 12-storey hotel is going up at 84 Harrington Street in the city centre.

The project is a partnership between two Cape Town-based companies, Hemporium and Afrimat Hemp, reports Engineering News.

Image of thermal insulation coatings with hemp @ france68/123rf.com

Bruce Whitfield talks to project architect Wolf Wolf, founder of Wolf & Wolf Architects.

It is currently the tallest building in the world that is using hemp as one of the building materials.

Wolf Wolf, Founder - Wolf & Wolf Architects

Wolf emphasizes that hemp is not the primary structural element, explaining that the structure is still predominantly concrete.

It's essentially an in-fill material and acts as an insulation, but it is still the bulk of the wall per se... It's also vapour-permeable, or breathable [but not porous].

Wolf Wolf, Founder - Wolf & Wolf Architects

The hemp in the building reduces the carbon footprint substantially, as well as reducing the loads... It has a lot of amazing benefits... It is ultimately good for the environment.

Wolf Wolf, Founder - Wolf & Wolf Architects

These benefits include hemp's insulation, light weight and fire-retardant properties.

But why specifically choose hemp, as opposed to building materials utilising other natural products, Whitfield wants to know.

It's the multitude of uses that hemp offers, as well as the speed of growth... in terms of its ability to sequester carbon and then with you build with it, locking that carbon into a building, is what really gives it the amazing benefits.

Wolf Wolf, Founder - Wolf & Wolf Architects

You're essentially growing the hemp either for seed or fibre, and then the waste product of that process is utilised for construction... that can be made into hemp blocks or hempcrete or hemp boards or insulation.

Wolf Wolf, Founder - Wolf & Wolf Architects

As the world is moving more towards a carbon-neutral reality, I think the building industry is catching up very quickly.

Wolf Wolf, Founder - Wolf & Wolf Architects

For more detail, listen to the interview on The Money Show (skip to 00:44)

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Cape Town boasts tallest building in the world using hemp building materials