South Africa: Cape Town is home to world's tallest hemp building

Hemporium and partners used hempcrete blocks to construct 12-storey building.

By Chriselle Moraes on
28th July 2022

A 12-storey building at 84 Harrington Street in Cape Town is officially the world’s tallest building constructed with hempcrete blocks and other hemp-related building materials. The 50-apartment structure was built by Hemporium in partnership with Afrimat Hemp and Wolf &Wolf Architects

The 12-storey building under construction using hempcrete blocks and hemp building materials (
The 12-storey building under construction using hempcrete blocks and hemp building materials (

Hempcrete is a bio-aggregate concrete made from natural plant-based material. The hemp “shives” or small pieces of wood from the plant stalk are mixed with lime or mud cement to form a strong, durable, and eco-friendly building material. Hempcrete blocks can be of two types, cast-in-place or prefabricated into building components like sheets or blocks. 

“I bought 84 Harrington in 2016, with the idea being that it would become the flagship Hemporium store, a steak restaurant, and house the ‘Hemp Hotel’. A place where people can experience living in a hemp-constructed space,” said Duncan Parker, founding partner and CEO of Hemporium. 

The local hemp company produces a wide range of hemp and hemp-related products. “From a sustainability and eco-construction perspective, we wanted to take hemp construction in South Africa to the next level while contributing to the inspiring hemp construction projects being undertaken globally,” Parker added.

Hempcrete will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions during construction and decrease heating, cooling, and maintenance demands during building inhabitation. It absorbs more carbon than it emits during its manufacturing process, thus making it carbon negative.

This insulative wall material also has moisture management and thermal mass that help reduce carbon emissions and save energy. 

This will help South African companies lower their carbon footprint and save energy. The construction of the Cape Town hempcrete building will be a starting point toward implementing environmentally friendly techniques in building construction. 

Afrimat was also involved in the project through its subsidiary Afrimat Hemp. This division concentrates mainly on carbon-neutral construction and building value in the industrial hemp sector.

“Afrimat Hemp has developed its own formulated lime binder for hempcrete and is producing hempcrete blocks at one of its commercial block plants,” said Boshoff Muller, the managing director of Afrimat Hemp.

Hemporium was also instrumental in constructing Africa’s first hemp home, which was selected as a World Design Capital 2014 project. Since then, they have helped put up five more hemp buildings. 

Top Photo: Hemporium's pioneer hemp building in South Africa (

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