Get Green with Style Blog

Green Book Review – Unbuilding

by Hilary Sopata, LEED AP

Salvaging the Architectural Treasures of Unwanted Houses
by Bob Falk and Brad Guy

Unbuilding: Salvaging the Architectural Treasures of Unwanted Houses is all about taking houses apart and reusing the pieces elsewhere!  People in green living circles get really excited about this idea.  I think that ALL buildings should be built with the expectation that they should stand forever and if not be completely disassembled for reuse.  These authors tell us how we can do this right now…today!

Unbuilding is also called deconstruction.  It is “an environmentally friendly alternative to smashing a building and landfilling it.  Falk and Guy share with us how to assess a building for deconstruction, what to consider in terms of safety, and even the best way to organize your site for haul-away.  They convey the types of materials you’ll find and what you can do with them.  Bricks are one material that interests me in particular.  A great brick building in working order was recently demolished in my town, and it made me cringe!  Falk and Guy tell us, “Bricks require a lot of work [to unbuild] but if the quality is high and they are set with lime-based mortar, they may be worth it.”

From just a few pieces to unbuilding an entire house, this book shares with you how to do it.  I really enjoyed this book.  It makes me want to go out there and find my own building to demolish…I mean unbuild!  We have to learn to terminology and new ways of doing things in order to grow more green.

Falk, Bob and Guy, Brad. (2007). Unbuilding: Salvaging the Architectural Treasures of Unwanted Houses.  The Taunton Press, Inc. ISBN 13: 978-1-56158-825-1  ISBN 10: 1-56158-825-3


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