Graduation Date

Fall 12-17-2021

Grading Professor

Emily Laber-Warren

Subject Concentration

Urban Reporting

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


In 2018, more than 600 million tons of construction and demolition (C&D) waste was generated in the United States, more than twice the volume of ordinary trash created by American households and businesses. Even though 80-95% of this concrete, asphalt, steel, wood, drywall, glass and brick can be reused, repurposed or recycled, a quarter of it – or 145 million tons in 2018 – ends up in landfills. Thirty million tons of wood alone – often sturdy, irreplaceable old-growth lumber – is being trashed every year.

Now, a budding ‘build reuse’ movement, made up of environmentalists, architects, historic preservationists, city planners, green builders, and entrepreneurs, hopes to change this status quo through the practice of ‘deconstruction’ – the eco-alternative to mechanical building demolition – to unlock the wealth of materials literally inside the walls of our buildings and make them available for reuse. A handful of cities have adopted or are considering ordinances that make deconstruction mandatory, in order to divert salvageable buildings materials from the waste stream.

Link to capstone project:

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Ben Milam Hotel, Houston, Sept 2011

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Ben Milam Hotel, Houston, Jan 2013

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Demolition debris from residential remodel, 53rd St, Brooklyn, Aug 2021

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Chart: C&D Debris - Destination by Material, 2018



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