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Construct Canada considers the value of adaptive reuse versus demolition

Building is always harder than destroying, but rebuilding may be harder still.

According to Carl Blanchaer, principal architect at WZMH, though it may be tempting for developers and other investors to tear down and start fresh, rebuilding, in the form known as adaptive re-use, may be the best bet for all concerned.

He gave his talk at the recent Construct Canada conference at the Metro Convention Centre, trying to convince builders, developers and others in the trades to think twice before knocking down.

One of the main examples he used were two projects he and his firm worked on in Toronto, 111 Richmond Street and 222 Jarvis.

With its brutalist style, the latter -- the Ontario government building formerly known as the Sears Building -- was not an obvious candidate for reclamation. But with every developer looking to at least appear green, nothing says “sustainable” like not wasting building material, or the carbon needed to demolish.

"The project has become a flagship for government initiatives in the use of sustainable building and planning approaches in the reconstruction of downtown office buildings," says the WZMH site, "and a catalyst for neighbourhood revitalization."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Carl Blanchaer
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