“Sustainable Demolition” brings a few thoughts to mind: 1) it’s probably better than “normal” demolition, 2) it sounds environmentally friendly, 3) it shows some forethought by those involved, and 4) it could be preservation friendly. At least, those were my thoughts. It did help that I first saw this phrase in front of a building that is currently undergoing demolition.
The building is Brownson Memorial Church in Southern Pines, NC. This chapel was built in 1936, but has apparently been deemed unusable due to mold and water issues. Churches and demolition have been in the Southern Pines news quite a lot recently. In 2007, the First Baptist Church of Southern Pines demolished four historic houses on the lots directly behind the church in order to make room for a larger building and additional parking space. Leading up to this, there were many battles in Southern Pines. The NC SHPO has a good write up of the houses, including historic details, photographs, and the trend of churches and demolition. [See here].However, the positive note is that the Moore County Historical Association organized a salvage sale for all historic materials from the house. The church allowed the MCHA to receive 100% of the profits and 99% of the materials found new homes (according to the MCHA).
Brownson Memorial Church likely learned a lesson from the First Baptist Church, as they had decided to partner with Habitat for Humanity and Re-Store Warehouse and Fayetteville Urban Ministry in order to insure that the chapel’s building materials would not be thrown into a landfill. According to this article in The Pilot, the steeple, roof, and windows of the chapel will be used in the new building. The bricks and mortar of the current chapel will be ground up to fill in the basement. Other materials will be shipped to Fayetteville to the Re-Store Warehouse.
It’s an interesting concept. The Re-Store Warehouse then sells these second-hand construction materials (and other housing materials) at steeply discounted prices to homeowners and business owners, in hopes of conserving the environment and funding their partner programs (Fayetteville Urban Ministry and Habitat for Humanity). Anyone who donates material to Re-Store Warehouse receives a tax deduction and avoids landfill fees.
And that is sustainable demolition. Since it’s in my town and I’ve seen the houses and the chapel in person, I don’t agree with the decision to demolish the buildings; however, when this is the case, I think the Re-Store Warehouse is a viable option and much better tossing everything in a landfill. Thoughts? Watching a building be systematically deconstructed is a unique site. [I’ll take as many photographs as I can throughout the next few weeks].