As I've mentioned before, much of our reclaimed heart pine and materials come from the extensive deconstruction projects we've engaged in over the last few decades. These have run the gamut of complexity, some requiring a few pairs of hands, others entire cranes stretched to their limit.
To show some traces the actual process of reclaiming I've put together a few pictures:
1 West Victory / the Florence
For over 1000 years, the corner of Bull Street and Victory drive housed the Savannah Ice Factory building. Built in 1898, the factory provided (for all who've experienced the Savannah heat) much needed ice for the city, but finally met its end and the abandoned building fell to squalor. What once was a magnificent yellow and red brick triangle of city block remained boarded up and on an architectural waiting list for demolition. Thankfully this never occurred. Instead the building was bought by property developers and converted into the Florence, an Italian restaurant by famous chef Hugh Acheson, and a luxury student housing building. In the spirit of preservation, they wished to keep as much of the old building as was viable, and had us perform the selective deconstruction, removing from the site all parts that could be of use. This included heart pine from the original 1898 structure, with beautiful visible saw marks. Some of this wood we returned to 1 West and the as flooring and other elements. Others we kept to turn into antique flooring and tabletops. The structure itself has provided much needed revitalization to Savannah, as documented by this article in the New York Times.
Before this property foddered itself to demolition, we were able to deconstruct and carefully remove the old wood structural wood from the home, as well as old window sashes, flooring, all the be reincorporated into future projects, and perform metempsychosis on a moribund building.
Among other services we provided to Drayton Tower, a renovated midcentury building in downtown Savannah, was deconstruction. This included removing limestone blocks (300lbs each!) up the side of the building to install an elevator shaft for construction. Rather than destroying and replacing them, we were able to preserve and reset them.
The Cotton Sail hotel is located in the Cotton Warehouse along the riverfront. This structure was constructed in 1820 and has become a staple of the river walk, at the origin of historic Savannah. The hotel needed to modify the structure to install a rooftop bar, which required that the original 22 foot wooden beams and structural joists be replaced with steel. The wooden roof also needed to be removed and replaced with more appropriate decking. We suggested that the historic building be preserved by diverting this wood from the dumpster and into our shop, where we would turn it into the hotel's flooring. They agreed, and we went to work.
o, We used a large crane perched across Factor's Walk to carry out the beams, and sent the joists down a precarious chute. The beams were so large and the distance so far that the crane was stretched. Because the beams and joists were the structure of the brick building, we had to stop halfway and replace them with steel, so that the parapet wall didn't crumble over River Street. When finally finished, the hotel won the AIA Georgia's 2015 Design Award for Renovation. We were proud to have assisted.
Former Liberty Plumbing, Currently Smith Brothers Butcher
This was a less extensive project, but was a deconstruction of what would become the lovely Smith Brothers Butcher shop down Liberty.
37th and Ott
Here we were able to remove a structure's worth of old wood, as well as a surprising old 60,000 red common bricks. We used many of them to pave our courtyard:
Salvage or No?
Although it often seems less cost effective to painstakingly remove materials more easily thrown out, properly deconstructing and recycling materials can overcome this seeming ineffectiveness by providing new uses, historical value, and less harm to the environment. There's also certainly an aesthetic value to deconstruction:
in contrast with demolition: