Hemp is used as a sustainable building material in a new house located in rural Cambridgeshire, UK. The agricultural shed is transformed into a ground breaking zero carbon house with pre-fabricated sustainable hemp-based construction.

Flat House is a series of linked spaces that transition from a large open single glazed hot house to a double height living space and two stories of sleeping accommodation. UK based Practice Architecture worked closely with engineers and material specialists to design and develop the building using prefabricated panels infilled with hemp grown on 20 acres of the farm.  The elements were raised into place in just two days.

The new building was built within permitted development and takes the footprint of an existing barn.  It sits within the original steel frame and consists of prefabricated timber-framed cassettes erected into thick, highly insulating walls that also hold the building up.

Although the house is built of organic and relatively light materials, it has some of the sense of mass and substance found in old masonry construction.  The house, which is quite small, is given generosity by both a high living area and a big glazed conservatory that occupies the full height of the old shed.  The exterior is covered in corrugated panels, which look like the cement cladding typical of farm sheds, but is made of fibers from the outer coating of hemp stalks combined with resin taken from agricultural waste.

Image credit: Oskar Proctor