It is still illegal to cultivate industrial hemp in the state of Idaho, but that is not stopping Sun Valley based firm Hempitecture from working to impact sustainable building practices throughout the country.
Founded in 2013, Hempitecture is the brainchild of CEO and founder Mattie Mead. While completing his thesis on natural building strategies, an interest in vernacular architecture lead Mead on a journey from France to the Virgin Islands, learning about and developing strategies for building with hemp.
The company is now gaining speed, having recently worked with renowned architects Olsen Kundig and Axel Vervoordt. Not only do they produce, sell and build with hemp based insulation, they have also chosen to provide workshops for training building teams in the use of their materials.
In an article from the Idaho Press, Mead describes their somewhat controversial choice to train others in their processes: “We can’t build every hemp building that needs to be built, to realize the true sustainability potential of this building approach because it’s a carbon-absorbing building material. The idea of training other people and giving away your trade secrets to an extent is democratizing your ability to work with this material with the hope that more people are going to want to build with this.”
“We have a unique approach to building with hemp. By using technology and systems thinking to make hempcrete installation less labor intensive and time consuming, we are making strides towards a future where hemp is a more widely used material” (hempitecture.com).