I am not an architect. I am not a media person. Not a builder. A business. Or a contractor.
I’ve had to be all those things, but I am no expert at any of them.
What I might call myself is a performance artist—with big props.
My house is a one off.
So, if I can build a house out of materials that are not well understood, so can you. The reasons to do so are too compelling not to try.
I’ve heard, in keynote speeches and trade organization networks, that changing the world requires that we call on our innovators; that we step outside of our routines and our roles; that we see past our immediate and individual desires to our collective needs. "Urgent" that we adapt. And yet our support systems are inflexible.
HHH is a social experiment as much as it is a building experiment.
It’s a party house. A space in a neighborhood setting that invites inquiry, scrutiny, feeling the space. What's different? How do we gather in this place?
A house of hemp is mysteriously comfortable. Seashell wrapping. It must be experienced.
I am opening the house to stage a "class" with Alex Sparrow even though it is in an unfinished state.
Not an architect, nor designer, nor any of a number of jobs I've had to perform in order to build this house. I invite creative people to participate in extending this experience.
What detail would you add? Who can use these tools? What will help us to adapt?
Alex Sparrow, pioneer of building with hempcrete will be at the Highland Hemp House on October 28th, 2019. We will offer a three hour class beginning at 1pm. Architects, engineers, builders, students, and anyone with a serious interest in building with hemp and lime is encouraged to attend. With a number of projects going on in the UK, the opportunity to have Alex here on the West Coast is a real treasure. I will discuss some of the challenges and issues I encountered in building a house of hemp. After the class we will break and then return for more questions, drinks, a light dinner and a chance to share our aspirations for up-scaling the greenest of building practices.
HHH is currently in the stage of retrofitting the old part of the house with hempcrete. By October we hope to be plastering the new walls. The hempcrete addition is nearly finished.
Having had the opportunity to pester Alex with relentless questions (at past International Hemp Building Symposiums offered by Steve Allin) was invaluable to my own building process. Alex's generosity with his expertise is echoed in the Facebook group International Hemp Builders Forum.
Fees for this class are $250, students $125. We have space for about 25 people with 10 student spaces. Please let me know if you require inexpensive lodging or have any other requests: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Sparrow is founder and MD at UK Hempcrete Ltd., an English company with an international reach, specializing in the design and construction of the structural and thermal envelope of buildings from Natural, renewable, carbon-sequestering and often recycled materials.
As well as construction and specialist material supply, UK Hempcrete offers design, consultancy and training services to assist others in the use of natural materials in construction.
Alongside his work at UK Hempcrete, Alex sits on the board of the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP), an organization which champions construction products that are better for people and the environment, as well as those companies and organizations prepared to push the boundaries. The ASBP seeks to support industry to make better decisions, and legislators to make better policy, and works from a position of independence from government and from short term commercial interests.
Alex co-authored The Hempcrete Book; Designing and Building with Hemp-lime, published in 2014 by Green Books, and often cited as the definitive guide to this better-than-zero-carbon construction material.
This, together with his extensive practical experience both in hempcrete design and construction and the wider hemp industry, has resulted in an increasing international demand for Alex's consultancy services and appearance at conferences, industry speaking engagements etc.
In advancing the cause of natural construction methods in the UK and further afield, Alex is seeking to develop a wide network of like-minded collaborators, to assist with the delivery of some exciting future projects which are currently in the pipeline... watch this space!
The retrofit stage has begun. If you are looking for a firsthand experience of installing hempcrete, you are welcome to participate. Construction logistics have take priority over scheduled workshops but if you can make it to Bellingham, we will give you a mask and a mallet. Please send notice of your availability and we will fit you into a 3 hour instruction/participation time slot. Given the urgency for embodied carbon building, our educational offering is without charge at this time.
See "Join Us" for contact information
Building a home is a nerve racking ordeal. In our case, add to the stress the uncertainties of making it out of hempcrete. In spite of all the unknowns and drawbacks, I am most gratified to have Bellingham Bay Builders (BBB) at my side. The whole staff is terrific, but I am especially appreciating having Ross Grier as lead man. His expert planning, attention to detail, and building experience are impressive. His relaxed and insightful manner in dealing with people is essential for team building. And, what first persuaded me to choose BBB, the forthright statement of intent (burned onto a slab of wood by the front door) gave me the necessary confidence that working together would be based in ethical and respectful relationship.
HHH Founder Pamela Bosch recently returned from her annual extended fact-finding trip to Europe. Among other stops, she hit Steve Allin's International Hemp Building Association Symposium in Italy and the HempToday Hemp2020 Investment Summit in Poland. Along the way, Pamela spent time with Hana Gabrielova, Hempoint, in the Czech Republic and with Albert Dun, Dun Agro, in Holland. These pictures are from Pam's visit at Hemp2020 in Poland. More on Hemp2020.
Read Pamela's reflections:
Part I: Stick together, harmonize, express yourself
Part II: Possibilities for better living