H*E*M*P – Community Self Build in the City

The 2014 National Custom and Self Build Association Self Build in the City competition asked for innovative ideas to develop an urban site for a minimum of 20 mixed size new homes for an average of £75,000 build cost per home, showing the process of how the project would develop and be managed during the development. We proposed H*E*M*P - a mobile university of hemp in the heart of the city.

H*E*M*P both teaches and promotes the use of hemp and natural materials in our built environment, to the benefit of both the rural communities cultivating the raw material and the urban communities in which the buildings appear. The pop-up workshop establishes itself in a field of soil improving hemp plants and invites applications from members of the community to a training course in timber and hemp construction.

Attendees learn construction techniques and use these skills to construct new homes that grow from the workshop walls. Homes are used as experiments for the students to test their new skills and the hemp construction community to trial new building techniques and methods. When the plots are all inhabited, the workshop disassembles leaving 20 new homes with a central communal space for the new community and surroundings to enjoy direct access to the park whilst the pop-up appears elsewhere continuing the growth of H*E*M*P across the UK.