The 380 square meter Pierre Chevet sports hall built by Paris studio Lemoal Lemoal is believed to be the country’s first public building built from hempcrete blocks.
Lodged in Croissy-Beaubourg near Paris, the studio took the opportunity to construct the center using the biomaterial, hemp. Hempcrete blocks made from lime blended with hemp hurds — shives; woody inners of the stems — are constructed by cement manufacturer Vicat.
These are used to shape up the walls while the exteriors have an overlay of white cement-fiber panels to help protect the hempcrete from environmental factors. Within the interiors, the sports hall features a wooden half-vaulted structure that allows a column-free space for a wide-open exercise center and changing rooms.
Hempcrete boasts a number of qualities such as acoustic performance and being fire-resistant as its structure could last for 30 minutes in a fire. The material also helps reduce the embodied carbon produced by construction and is now in high demand, especially with France’s new laws urging architects to incorporate biomaterials in upcoming projects.
“Hempcrete is very popular due to its high qualities for construction, which is really good news for sustainability,” stated the studio. “We choose to work with hempcrete because this sustainable and long-lasting material has also multiple performances, which allows us to reduce the thickness of the walls and get high quality and spacious interior rooms.”
With an interlocking system and dry assemblage, the hempcrete blocks can forego the use of adhesives or mortar and also cuts the need for additional insulation. According to Cambridge University researcher Darshil Shah, hemp is one of the top CO2-to-biomass converters.