Project Journal

The Art of Deconstruction
by Robert Fortunato on February 9th, 2011 2 Comments

As the end of their useful life, most buildings in our area get demolished with a bulldozer and get scraped into a dumpster.  We certainly understand the logic.  It is currently cheaper and easier to do it that way.

Reuse and recycling is hard work.  Almost every architect and contractor we interviewed said it would be easier and cheaper to throw the building into the dumpster and start from scratch.  Buildings are generally not designed to be taken apart for reuse. In addition, architects and contractors generally get paid on how much we spend – not how much is saved.  There needs to be a better system…

Nonetheless, we could not justify scraping the building from an economic or environmental standpoint.  So we worked hard to save as much of the existing structure as possible – all the foundations and what we could of the good midcentury bones of our building.  Unfortunately, in order to put a second story on the front of our house and meet earthquake codes, we had to bring it down to the foundation to set the steel and concrete pads.

To make sure that as much as possible of what we are not using finds a new home – from the doors and windows to the kitchen sink (literally) – we are partnering with The Reuse People and RER.  They working to thoughtfully deconstruct, reuse and recycle.  In the end we get a tax deduction for the donation and a certificate saying how much has been diverted from the landfill.

Materials prepared for donation

Salvaged Glass Block

Deconstruciton 2

Carter gives it a whack!

Deconstruciton 3

Deconstruciton 4

Some termites, but overall not bad for the last 50 years!

Deconstruciton 5

Deconstruciton 6

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