Most of the time, demolition is used to get rid of outdated or dilapidated structures in order to make room for new developments. While this might be the ubiquitous use of demolition, it’s not the sole use of demolition. It might surprise you to learn that demolition can be a necessary part of historical preservation. We do things a little differently in these cases, but historical preservation would not be possible without demolition for a lot of buildings.
You’re probably thinking this sounds counterintuitive. After all, why would anyone want to destroy something they are trying to preserve? Here’s an example that might help solve this apparent paradox.
Let’s pretend there’s a famous hotel in the heart of downtown that’s been there since the early 1900s. It’s a fixture in the community and recognizable to anyone who knows about the town. However, the building has slowly dilapidated to the point that guests aren’t booking stays and there’s also some suspicions about asbestos levels. After several town hall meetings, it was decided that everyone wants the hotel to stay, but agrees it needs to be renovated.
This is where demolition by deconstruction comes into play. Instead of using heavy machinery to take down the entire building in one fell swoop, we can safely strip down the interior of the building to the bare bones. If there any iconic parts of the building that need to stay, we can leave these untouched to preserve the integrity hotel.
Deconstruction is done by a crew of experienced demolition experts using hand tools to remove walls, floors, ceilings, and anything else that needs to go. The beauty of this process is that it is incredibly selective. If a few rooms are just fine the way they are, they can remain as they are without fear of collateral damage.
Asbestos abatement is another big benefit of deconstruction for historical renovations. Asbestos was still thought to be safe when a lot of historical buildings were built, so it’s common to find asbestos hiding in these buildings. With the deconstruction method, asbestos can be safely removed to make way for safer construction methods.
As odd as it may seem, preservation and demolition can often go hand in hand. So the next time you think about demolition, don’t just think about imploding stadiums, think about preservation too.