Posted by: matt | January 22, 2009

Age of a Building


Have you ever looked at a building and wondered how old it was?  I bet you have. But, have you ever looked at it and asked how much more time it has?

When we see old buildings we tend to be caught up in the romance of imagining what it must have been like to be there, to live there, to work there.

Does a building deserve to have our sentiment? What if it was the first place you lived or went to school?  What if there’s deep emotions that are triggered every time you pass by?

Have you ever wondered why a building’s being torn down? Did it serve its purpose and now it’s land can serve a new? Was it damaged? Couldn’t it be repaired or adapted for another use?

With these times we are all in, we need to re-evaluate. Maybe we can re-use? Maybe our needs can change to match what we have, instead of what we want?



  1. Really depends on the use and building’s condition. It’s a money problem. There is damage that can be removed and replaced, and there is damage that becomes permanent.

    It’s how it’s transformation is handled – will renovations and new uses mesh with the context of the community. A new building sensitive to context may achieve that goal better.

    Community change is sometimes not a bad thing, the community may even desire it.

  2. My grade school was torn down while was a still a student there. I had to go to a new school in 3rd grade because of it. I was sad because it was my first school. To this day I still think of that building. I remember it to be a great old building with a lot of character. I would love to see what it really looked like because in the eyes of a 2nd grader, it was the coolest building ever.

  3. This makes me think of the Target by my house…. perhaps there is something structural that I’m not aware of but I just found out they are closing at the end of the month, tearing it down and rebuilding it! Please tell me there is no better way??? It seems a waste to me.

  4. There’s an opinion out there that sometimes it’s”easier” to demolish a newer building than retrofit it for a new use. You’ll see a certain large fast food chain do it a lot.
    But, is it always the case?
    How can it be controlled? Who governs over the decision? Is it up to the community, the consumer, our the municipality?

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