Maria Yañez Sainz

Design for Disassembly:
The New OEP Faculty on The University of Melbourne's Parkville Campus

We are currently designing permanent, solid buildings as if they will never be taken down. Shifting this construction industry paradigm to one that understands the life of buildings as a circular economy is one step forward towards understanding that architecture can no longer afford being ‘less harmful’. To be sustainable is to stop designing for landfill.

Design for Disassembly — DfD — is an environmentally responsible alternative to demolition. It relies on the idea that buildings have to be flexible during their lifecycle but also resilient to a future where the building will no longer be needed. The New OEP Faculty Building on Parkville Campus aims to be a seed project showcasing DfD principles as well as ESD initiatives, in order to promote today’s importance of designing resilient buildings that can adapt to changing scenarios and eventually be disassembled and serve as material banks for future designs.

Praising for simplicity within a structural system, working within a grid and establishing clear distinguishable layers, avoiding composites and preferring timber and its derivatives, plus aiming for modularity of components, are all strategies that help create adaptation schemes and facilitate universality, thus raising the building’s future salvageability.

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