These images describe the narrative this project exists within. They outline Vancouver’s lumber industry, tributary networks, housing, waste, and eventual climate crisis protests - forcing the government to manage waste responsibly.

This project outlines the system to be put in place that would respond to the outcome of this narrative. Capital gains are now contingent on responsible waste management. Wood, the major outlier in the residential teardown waste system, would now be a harvestable resource rather than an impediment to free-flowing capital - to be burned. This change would act as a catalyst in reshaping Vancouver for the many, rather than the few. 

The following drawings focus on the deconstruction process for one home from start to finish.

1:200 Mitchell Island Deconstruction Hub Plan

The path to deconstruction of any house of course, begins on-site. Here, the effort is get the house off-site as quickly and effectively as possible, and to focus deconstruction at the hubs. This approach opposes typical deconstruction techniques that keep almost all work on-site and take weeks to complete a single home. By centralizing the effort, the system reduces on-site time, mess, and increases overall efficiency.

Housing Characteristics Timeline 
Suggests method of transport for housing typologies to hubs.

House arrival at Mitchell Island Deconstruction Hub 

Housing Waste Flow Diagram

Housing disassembly at Mitchell Island Deconstruction Hub

The goal of this system is to separate the materials of each and every house and to harvest the wood that typically goes to waste. The carbon in this lumber is to be reconstituted into new building materials to remedy Vancouver’s lack of housing density. In effect, the more homes that are torn down, the more mid-rise residential buildings would be constructed.

The diagram on the right suggests a potential massing for one of these buildings. It’s a 28 unit building that takes up 3 lots, and would take the lumber from about 20 houses to produce. To put this in context at the city scale, an estimate with this system if we were able to run all demolitions through it, it could produce about 3900 housing units a year. Comparatively, a study from a few years ago in Vancouver looking at reusing lumber from pre-1940’s homes found that they could potentially build 100-130 single family homes a year .

This project doesn’t assess the aesthetic of the output, these are still design decisions left up to the architect. This project is concerned about the sourcing of materials and is much more focused on the operations upstream and downstream from our typical point of production and how to engage that. As designers and architects, we can’t be happy just to occupy any given site. We have to think about where are materials are coming from and where they’re going. This project is a lens through which we can view the problems of the current system and envision a system that serves the greater public in a much more effective way.

1:100 Section Model of Mitchell Island Deconstruction Hub

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