Worker removes plaster from a brick wall with a perforatorGETTY
If the salvageable material from deconstructing your house is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, you should not need to pay somebody to take the house apart so that you can give the pieces to charity. There should be people waving money in front of your face to come in and take it apart.
For about six months last year, the St. Louis Development Corporation hired workers to carefully take apart a former storage warehouse in the Vandeventer neighborhood and saved lumber, brick and other materials for reuse.
DAVID KOVALUK | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO
“Each job is like a cadaver. You get to dissect the building, see how it was put together, how it worked, how it could fail,” Schwarz said. “And each job is different. You don’t always know going into it what exactly is going to be there.”
The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, at the University of British Columbia, showing off some timber. CIRS
Slabs of wood this large can match or exceed the performance of concrete and steel. CLT can be used to make floors, walls, ceilings — entire buildings. The world’s tallest mass timber structure, at 18 stories and over 280 feet, was recently built in Norway; there’s an 80-story wooden tower proposed for Chicago.
Deforestation is one factor contributing to unprecedented consumption of materials in recent years. (Photo: World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr/cc)
Half of the materials used each year are clay, gravel, sand, and other materials used for construction, and about 40% of the materials used are turned into housing—yet according to the Homeless World Cup Foundation, an estimated 100 million people worldwide are homeless and as many as 1.6 billion people have inadequate housing.
Nearly 100 opponents of the proposed waste facility on Allens Avenue in Providence raise their hands in silent protest at the Jan. 21 meeting of the City Plan Commission. (Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News)
During the rally, City Council member Pedro Espinal described how the addition of about 200 trucks per day heading to and from the proposed waste-processing facility would impact the five schools in neighborhood. “This facility will only increase the pollution and contaminants of South Providence,” Espinal said.
ZGF partnered with Google to transform the landmark Spruce Goose Hangar in Playa Vista, California. A 450,000+ SF, four-level “building-within-a-building” was developed inside the seven-story, 750-foot-long historic wooden structure. Built by Howard Hughes in 1943 for the construction of the Hercules IV airplane (aka the “Spruce Goose”), the hangar now comprises office, meeting, food service and event spaces, and employee amenity spaces.
Dismantling a historic barn is an exacting process, requiring weeks of logistical planning. Because the team hopes to repurpose every piece of wood, most work is done by hand, with the occasional support of heavy machinery. “The barn has its own plan,” says manager Anthony Saraceno. “There are always surprises.” Photo by Joe Polillio
Each salvage job is unique. In the case of Pitney Farm, a portion of the grounds is to be converted into a public park. Some of the salvaged wood was set aside to build benches for the park. Real Antique Wood will repurpose the rest. “I’ve probably made 25 mantels from the beams of that barn already,” says Anthony Saraceno, who manages the mill and Real Antique Wood.
If the research pans out, it would allow future astronauts to construct off-world settlements without needing to carry expensive, heavy building materials with them all the way from Earth — a game-changer in the plan to colonize space.
‘To me, this indicates the need to further question the current practices of the construction sector. How is it that something so simple and obvious as keeping reusable resources intact and in circulation can have become so complicated to put into practice?’
A semi-truck hauls a turbine blade to the Casper Regional Landfill to be disposed of.
They are making a pretty large profit from the deal; $675,485 to be exact. “So the revenue from the special projects, um, that go in the unlined area, help with the whole cost of our facility so it keeps all of our rates low. Helping with the revenue source, so absolutely, we’re making money on it.”
The historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church rectory in Owen Sound. The empire-style building was constructed in 1872. A wraparound porch was added in 1917 and was enclosed, as it appears today, in 1965. Denis Langlois
“Not only would we be destroying building materials superior in quality to what we can easily obtain today, we would be burning fossil fuels to transport these wasted materials to the landfill,” Elgie said. “Replacing these building materials extracts a huge toll on our natural environment – the fossil fuels burned, the greenhouse gases emitted, the air and water pollutants generated when new iron ore is mined, new steel smelted, new girders manufactured and transported to warehouses and ultimately Owen Sound – to mention just a few of the greenhouse gas-emitting steps in the construction process.”
The crews carefully deconstruct old homes to rescue as many reusable materials as possible, including old growth timber.
With the climate crisis in our face, and the need to keep forests in the ground, Corneil recognized an opportunity for a holistic approach to demolition. He shifted his Vancouver construction business two years ago into a deconstruction company called the Unbuilders, and business is good.
The volunteer group started recycling the bricks from the former Harbour Board building in 2018.
A community effort to recycle material from Whangārei’s old Harbour Board building has come to a close and after two and a half years of chipping, project leader Andrew Garratt is counting nearly 40,000 bricks to be used in the new Hundertwasser Arts Centre.
“We see this as a pilot project, research,” Devlieger says. “[We are] testing methods for the professionalisation of reuse. Architects sometimes don’t understand the power they have. They are diverting huge streams of money towards new materials when they specify and there are social, environmental and economic consequences of those decisions.”
“Every time we put a road down, we put a building and we cut a tree or add a tree, it not only affects that site, it affects the region. The study placed a value on tree loss based on trees’ role in air pollution removal and energy conservation.
Dale Galvin grinds nails from roofing along Old Englewood Road. Some of the roofing will be used to create artwork by artists Lisa McQueen and Gary Carlberg. Sun Photos by Sandy Macys
“People are stopping by asking for a piece of it because it’s a part of their childhood,” Parks said. “It was a part of my life. This is my grandmother’s homestead. My mother was born in 1924 and was raised here.”
Alan Batchelder, during a 2018 visit to a building owned by La Cañada Unified School District, poses with a fireplace made in 1923 by his grandfather, Arts and Crafts tile artist Ernest Allan Batchelder.
“We’re trying to get ideas from tile preservationists about what it would take to move and restore it,” said LCUSD Assistant Supt. Mark Evans. “The house is going to have to come down, so we’re looking at how do we salvage it and is there a home for it?”
Found on Mallorca’s south-east coast, this 17th-century building will comprise 32 rooms, a spa with hammam and indoor pool. Can Ferrereta is inspired by the typical Spanish summer house: its light and airy design will champion original wooden beams, a cream palette and stone
In repurposing the barn into a habitable space, the architects retained the original wood frame structure and removed the attic to maximize usable interior space while staying within the 850-square-foot permitted size for accessory dwellings.
A flood-plain forest grows now where there used to be houses in the Watson Crampton neighborhood in Woodbridge, N.J., as seen from the air on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. The Heards Brook on the top meets the Woodbridge River on the left, which leads to the Atlantic Ocean. Homeowners here took buyouts through a program that purchases houses and demolishes them to remove people from danger and to help absorb water from rising sea levels due to climate change. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Blue Acres has so far lined up funding to buy 1,156 properties statewide. It has made offers on nearly 1,000 homes, closed deals on more than 700, and knocked down more than 640 in flood-danger areas across New Jersey, according to Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The Dunn Landfill in Rensselaer, N.Y., pictured above, occupies 80 acres in this 3.3-square-mile city. New York City, 150 miles south, is the source of much of the construction debris dumped in the landfill, which sits less than a mile from the local public school complex and this baseball field where children play. | David Ellis of Rensselaer Environmental Coalition
“It’s a huge waste stream that has big potential for recyclability but needs both the infrastructure and the legislation to make that happen,” said Justin Green, executive director of Big Reuse, a nonprofit organization that works on repurposing building materials. As far back as 2003, city officials were looking for ways to curb construction waste that ended up in landfills. “It is the right thing to do, for the environmental benefits of resource conservation, energy savings and pollution prevention,” the Department of Design and Construction, which oversees municipal projects, urged in a report 17 years ago.
Apple took on yet another renovation of a historically significant building in 2019, converting Washington DC’s first public library into a new flagship store. The restoration of the 116-year-old Carnegie Library by Foster + Partners took two years and involved installing a new skylight above a central plaza used for hosting events.
For the architecture firm Schaum/Shieh, reuse necessarily means embracing the “background buildings” found throughout American suburbs, like the strip mall. In Houston, Schaum/Shieh retrofitted a midcentury washateria into a series of storefronts, while taking pains to highlight the craftsmanship of the original build. Courtesy Peter Molick
The building sector accounts for about a third of global fuel consumption, but its systematic energetic impact may be still greater. Because we sense the glow and hum of the machines around us, because we are accustomed to paying monthly energy bills and encouraged by the idea that adjusting the thermostat saves money—and, somehow, the planet—we may be more sensitive to running costs than to embodied energy. But, as Moe puts it in that interview, “that’s not really dealing with energy, that’s dealing with the fuel efficiency of a building, which is important, but missing the big picture.”
Nominated from people and organizations across the state, Oregon’s Most Endangered Places list sheds light on important examples of our state’s heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. The 2020 list includes endangered places from communities that for too long have been underserved–that embody Oregon’s diverse cultural heritage and require concerted efforts to be retained and passed forward.
Most of the project has been built using reclaimed materials from various projects over the years. The windows are all steel sash from, at last count, five different remodel projects. The pool is perhaps the most notable example; it used to be a water tank for livestock. At 25-feet diameter and 14-feet deep it provides a wonderful black hole of water, particularly in a full moon.
While the main nave of the church serves as an impromptu auditorium, it’s ambulatory alcoves are fitted out as stationary lounges. (Slava Balbek)
Salvaging and restoring the historic features of the listed Our Lady of Guadalupe church, the firm implemented a scheme that makes good use of its dramatic nave and ambulatory alcoves. While the former plays host to a moveable seating and table system, the latter serves a series of stationary lounges. Together, they set the stage for anything from film-screenings to hackathons.
“The wood is generally all reclaimed pieces from when we do renovations or additions,” says the artist. “I work for a high-end company [John G. Early Contractor and Builder], so we have a lot of uncommon things — antique flooring, antique beams. It would normally be trash, but it’s completely usable. The older and more weathered it is, for me, the more appealing. I prefer that to something that’s too clean and polished.”
“It can be hard to describe exactly what we do because we do a lot! Our deconstruction team takes apart old buildings; our resale team finds new homes for the reclaimed materials; and our Refab Lab crew turns some of those materials into high-quality home furnishings. On top of all that, we provide training and reemployment opportunities to recently homeless men.”
Designed by Nordhavn-based Lendager Group, the Holiday Cabin consists of five connected structures, all of which are constructed from upcycled waste materials found from demolition sites and local factories.
From the chapel, more than 250 tons of material was reused or recycled with almost 85 percent diversion, and nearly 700 tons of material was reused or recycled from the laundry with a 73 percent diversion rate. Overall, the three buildings totaled 1,717 tons of material of which 1,246 tons was reused or recycled, making the project a successful venture.
The Growing Pavilion is made with natural materials, including mycelium.
Produced by creative organization Company New Heroes and biotechnology company Krown Design, the biobased building — put in place for Dutch Design Week — was built using only materials that grow on this earth, including timber and mycelium.
Matt Bolen of Waterloo-based Edge Architects in front of the century-old Huck Glove factory before construction began.
“Call it a new generation that doesn’t necessarily place the same value on suburban, shiny new things,” he says, explaining that younger employees want to live and work in communities with a history. “The great thing about these older buildings is they have a story that people can connect to.”
“I’m first and foremost a preservationist,” Sauer said. “I don’t like to see historic buildings come down.” But, when buildings are demolished or remodeled, saving as much as possible is important, Sauer said, noting, “I don’t like seeing this stuff end up in a landfill.”
The new Runway Rink at the TWA Hotel allows guests to skate on the tarmac around the hotel’s 1958 Lockheed Constellation Connie airplane, a vintage airliner which has been converted into a cocktail lounge.
Many Viequenses build their own homes, but this practice is hindered by the limited supply and high expense of building materials, which are shipped from the main island. The “Unearthing Resources” concept would help to make Vieques more self-sufficient by finding new uses for materials from the island’s growing landfill. The proposal would establish a warehouse for different categories of recycled materials, and provide educational resources for building techniques, including classes. An instructional booklet for materials reuse would help to evolve the culture of self-sufficiency.
Policies worldwide recognize that the construction sector needs to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackle the climate crisis and limit resource depletion, with a focus on adopting a circular economy approach in construction to ensure the sustainable use of construction materials.
Instead of simply knocking buildings down and sending the CDW to landfill, circular construction would turn building components that are at the end of their service life into resources for others, minimizing waste.
The warm and vast pool at the spa at Tschuggen Grand Hotel (Image: Manchester Evening News)
Stretching over 800m, its relaxation pool is bordered by views of the snow covered mountains, the two saunas, one set at an eco friendly 60 degrees, are made from reclaimed wood and have windows that act as a portal to the icy, white world outside.
The project is an ode to the industrial and cultural heritage of Amsterdam and brings to light the importance of water to the area. The suites, spread all throughout the city, are a love letter to Amsterdam architecture, from Amsterdam School to Modernism.
The tropical game room features shuffle board, bumper pool, and foosball. Images courtesy of Cedar Street
“Mid-century modernism was a no-brainer as the source of inspiration for design,” Fritz tells Curbed. “Tiki lounges and mid-century go hand in hand. There was a sort of obsession with tropical environments in Hollywood movies of the era, and Hawaii became a state at the end of the era, forever enmeshing American and Polynesian culture.”
The structure was first operational between 1941 and 1943, used by the Germans to house U-boats. The converted bunker has already hosted temporary shows and concerts, but now four of its sheds will become permanent exhibition spaces.