The walls of the 12-floor, 54-room Hemp Hotel are filled by hempcrete blocks sourced from the cannabis plant, which are reinforced by concrete.
Hemp bricks are notorious for their insulation properties, fire resistance, and eco-friendliness and are widely adopted in Europe for retrofitting.
They are also carbon negative, removing more greenhouse gases than they emit. This not only makes these materials environmentally friendly, but drives a sustainable way of building with plant-based material that helps to save on energy costs and consumption.
The hempcrete blocks used in this development were imported from the UK.
Located at 84 Harrington Street, Cape Town, with a breathtaking view of Table Mountain, the Hemp Hotel aligns perfectly with the East City area and its creative vibe, with the precinct already a huge drawcard for creative businesses, designers, foodies, coders, artists, photographers, and students.
Architect Wolf Wolf envisions the Hemp Hotel as a catalyst to popularise hemp-based construction in this region.
However, the cost still poses a challenge. “It shouldn’t be just a high-end product,” says Wolf.
“Hemp is 20% more expensive to build with compared to conventional materials,” says Wihan Bekker, carbon consultant, for Afrimat Hemp, a Cape Town-based company, pioneering and beneficiating the industrial hemp value chain in Africa.
Still, President Cyril Ramaphosa has prioritised advancing South Africa's hemp and cannabis industry, aiming to generate more than 130,000 jobs.
The Hemp Hotel forms part of a development that comprises rental stock, and plans are underway for the opening of a Hemporium store on the ground floor.
It was recognised as the world’s tallest structure using hemp-based materials by Steve Allin, director of the International Hemp Building Association in Ireland.