Deconstructing Cleveland: The Art of Taking a House Apart

deconstruction cleveland photo

From photo essay by Alejandra Laviada

There are 8,000 vacant houses in Cleveland; the city is demolishing 1,100 by the end of the year. You can push them down and take them to the dump in a day, or you can carefully deconstruct them and recover almost all of the material to be used again. The lumber is drier, straighter, of better quality than anything you can get today.

Jon Mooallem wrote an excellent article, This Old Recyclable House, in the New York Times Magazine, following Brad Guy as he explains the process:

deconstruction drawers photo

"This is a manufacturing process," Guy told me. "That's the way you should look at this. We are making building materials." In fact, the aim of deconstruction has always been more socioeconomic than environmental: employing local people to harvest a stock of low-cost materials so that lower-income homeowners and rental landlords in the same area can afford to maintain their properties. Denhart talks about houses as being part of a community's collective history and wealth. Deconstruction maintains and redistributes that wealth. "The community is really taking care of itself," he says. "It's protecting its identity." ::New York Times

Deconstruction in TreeHugger:

Big Steps in Building: Deconstruct, Don't Demolish
Deconstructing Buffalo
Deconstruction and the Rebuilding Center
Recycling the Whole House

Related Content on