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Photos: The first institutional building in Canada made with hemp was just built in Vancouver

It was designed and built entirely by a 60-member team of UBC students.

One of Canada's first "carbon-minimal" buildings is about to open, and it's located on the UBC Vancouver campus. 

Dubbed the Third Space Commons, the new institutional space is made out of hempcrete — a mixture of hemp fibres and lime that helps sequester carbon and eventually turns into a concrete-like material. No real concrete was used throughout construction. 

It also makes use of recycled materials sourced from other buildings and construction sites around Vancouver, as well as windows, solar panels, appliances, and lumber that were saved from the landfill. 

The 2,400-square-foot building was designed and built entirely by a 60-member team of UBC students called Third Quadrant Design. The team, which consists of engineering, architecture, arts, and business students, recently received the inaugural B.C. Embodied Carbon Award for the project. 

“In Third Quadrant Design, we see a tremendous example of our faculty’s strategic priorities coming together,” says Dr. James Olson, dean of the faculty of applied science. “It features a diverse, women-led student team that is supported by world-class faculty members, that partnered with industry, and constructed a beautiful building and set a new standard for environmentally friendly facilities on campus. I’m extremely proud of this team.”

Third Space Commons is located at 6363 Biological Sciences Road, just behind the Earth Sciences Building, and will officially open on April 14. The new building will serve as a sustainability living lab and flexible collaboration space. 

The student team hopes the new space will inspire construction of more sustainable buildings in B.C. and around the world.