The Materials Book

47 What if we eliminated the idea of demolition? Until the beginning of the twentieth century, it was commonplace for buildings to be unbuilt and their parts sorted, reclaimed, and reused. This provides a powerful example of how to think of buildings as a stockpile of materials instead of as future waste. Composite materials are particularly difficult to reuse because their individual components cannot be recovered. Similarly, using insoluble adhesives make building products difficult to reuse. If materials can be easily recovered, they are more likely to be reused. Whenever possible, materials should be combined in ways where they can be re-separated or reused as an assembly, using screws or nails or even magnets and hooks. Temporary structures could be built entirely as components. Like a circus tent, Olympic venues or exhibition halls could be moveable pop-ups instead of fixed buildings, appearing when and where they are needed. 17 Design for Disassembly