Through their design-focused start-up company, Hempitecture, Matthew Mead ’13 and Tyler Mauri ’13 are pioneering the use of industrial hemp as a building material in the United States.
Last April, the Hempitecture team kicked off a sustainable development project near Sun Valley, Idaho, that will result in the first non-residential hemp building in the U.S., says Mead. When completed, the building will function as a yoga and movement studio.
“Hempitecture is moving forward on this project because we need architecture for a new generation, where issues of climate and environment have mattered like never before,” Mead says. “Hemp building is energy-efficient, non-toxic, carbon-negative and all natural. We want to educate, advocate and motivate others on the potential of industrial hemp as a building material in the United States.”
The Hempitecture team has partnered with Living Architecture, one of Sun Valley’s most well-known architecture firms, to bring the project to fruition at Idaho BaseCamp. Idaho BaseCamp is a facility dedicated to sustainable education, innovative creation, and strengthening the relationship between the self and the environment, located 30 miles north west of Sun Valley in the Lost River Mountain Range.
Following a seven-day road trip across the country, the Hempitecture team arrived in Sun Valley and began work in the studio and in the field preparing preliminary drawings, completing solar site surveys, and putting the finishing touches on their Kickstarter campaign.
Mead says the project at Idaho BaseCamp is designed to demonstrate that hemp building can be applied anywhere in the U.S., ranging from harsh mountain climates to arid desert climates.
“With our team of professionals supporting us on this project, we’re looking forward to designing a building that will positively impact thousands of lives, yet have no adverse affect on the greater environment,” Mead says.
Mead and Mauri will remain in Sun Valley until the completion of the project. In the fall of 2015, Mauri will be attending the University of Virginia’s Master of Architecture Program with a focus on sustainable design.
This May, the Hempitecture team launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the building project in Idaho. For information about those efforts, visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/790579014/hemp-building-at-idaho-basecamp
Hempitecture made its debut during the Colleges’ 2013 Pitch, a competition for student entrepreneurs. Mead placed as one of the contest finalists, but also brought the Hempitecture name to a wider audience.
In April 2013, Mead competed in the prestigious Global Student Entrepreneur Awards northeastern regional semi-finals, which were held at Villanova University. In addition, he also competed in the New York Business Plan Competition held at University of Albany.