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‘The Big Coastal’

2013 – ‘Mare Cannabum’ was designed as the primary residence for a family of four, located a block from the Atlantic Ocean.

Hemcrete® was utilized for this project at the Owner’s request, as it fulfilled the design objectives noted below. This is the largest Hemcrete® design that Alembic Studio, LLC has undertaken at 3600 s.f. conditioned space. The house is located in Virginia Beach, where seismic zone 2 conditions and 130 m.p.h.wind loads presented considerable design challenges for a hemp building.  We worked closely with structural and civil engineers to ensure all their insights were carefully integrated into the design. For example, the wind loads, significantly in excess of typical specifications, were addressed with engineered steel brace frames at five locations in the exterior and interior walls.

Aside from the Hemcrete® exterior walls and related structural considerations, the construction of this home follows commonly accepted modern building practices and systems. A conditioned crawl space with mud-slab, conditioned attic spaces, and a SIPS roof system are the other major components of the building envelope. Gable cantilevers were incorporated for both aesthetic value and added protection from the elements.

As with most Hemcrete® projects in the US, this was a “first” for the local building department. Prior to entering the Design Development phase, we conducted a preliminary meeting with city officials to assure that all of their concerns were addressed.

Design Objectives

  • Low maintenance
  • Functionality
  • Longevity
  • Meet hurricane code requirements
  • Maximum HERS-70
  • Air quality above average
  • Aesthetics to reflect Owner’s essence of home


Latest news about the Mare Cannabum Project:

Mare Cannabum Project Nearing Completion

Alembic Studio’s second hempstead is almost finished! The hempcrete has been plastered and the interior details are taking shape. Jim Sykes Construction and site manager Pat O’Rork are doing … Read More

Virginia Beach Architects Visit ‘Mare Cannabum’ to learn about Hempcrete Installation

This week we paid a visit to the site of the ‘Mare Cannabum’ hemp home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. We began to design this house in 2012 with … Read More

Mare Cannabum Hempcrete Installation has Begun!

The hempcrete walls have started to take form in Virginia Beach! More to come soon…

Mare Cannabum Home Nearly Ready for Hemp Installation

Here are the latest construction photos, sent by site supervisor Pat O’Rork in Virginia Beach, along with comparisons to our ArchiCad model. This is our second hemp house, and … Read More

Mare Cannabum to Start Hempcrete Installatation

After months of planning, construction has finally begun on the ‘Mare Cannabum‘ project in Virginia Beach. Alembic Studio is currently testing 3 different lime binders to determine which … Read More

Binder Test for ‘Mare Cannabum’

Hempsteads VB.301: Hemp Binder Test from JenBen Media on Vimeo. In this video, Tim Callahan and Brad Madera test lime binders for the ‘Mare Cannabum’ home in Virginia … Read More