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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

AE34: Reclaimed Windows and Doors

Every now and then I come across small buildings that are an assemblage of reclaimed windows and doors fitted together like a game of Tetris. Many are like this glass house in, fittingly, Christiania, Denmark:

[Photo: seier+seier]

Or this Cabin in West Virginia by Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz:


As much as I like the appearance of these sort of makeshift constructions, I figure any sustainability points gained in reusing old windows and doors are offset by the heat gain and loss of what I imagine to be single panes of glass. Hence these elements are better suited for interiors, as in Studio Boot in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, by Studio Boot + Hilberink Bosch Architecten:



Or temporary installations, as in Bow-House in Heerlen, Netherlands, by Malka Architecture:


But easily the most ambitious project I've come across with the architectural element of reclaimed windows and doors is the Collage House in Mumbai, India, by S+PS Architects:

[Photo: Sebastian Zachariah]

Much like Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu appropriate tiles from demolished buildings for their campus structures in China, the folks at S+PS have incorporated old windows and doors from demolished buildings in Mumbai. According to Domus, where I spotted this project, the incorporation of historical elements doesn't end at the walls at the front of the house: "Hundred-year-old columns from a dismantled house bring back memories ... One finds use of recycled materials like old textile blocks, flooring made out of old Burma teak rafters and purlins, colonial furniture, fabric waste (chindi)."


[Photo: Sebastian Zachariah]

With such a strong visual statement on the street, the use of old windows and doors is as much a political expression as it is about building green.

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