learning the future from the past

The reuse of load-bearing components in new constructions is not a recent matter. The practice probably existed as soon as humans started to build shelters. However, the design of load-bearing systems for explicit or implicit reuse of components in future life-cycles is not very well documented. Some approaches and technologies have failed, others have succeeded. What can we learn from this vast experience? How can we use it to improve contemporary construction processes and techniques?


Built in the 1960's by Jakob Zweifel, the Agro Research Centre in St-Aubin is a unique precast reinforced-concrete system that can be disassembled and reassembled without partial destruction. Still, the reuse of its components for new purposes is not secured.


Although meant for reuse, the Crystal Palace (Richard Paxton, 1851) suffered from inappropriate technological details. (Photograph by Philip Henry Delamotte)


The reuse of timber components in new buildings was a defining feature of traditional western and eastern architecture. What were the conditions for such design, repair, and reuse culture to exist?

This research project just started. More information soon.

  • Jingxian Ye (PhD candidate)
  • Corentin Fivet (advisor)