I was blown away by Alberto MozÃ³‘s simple and clean design for the Edificio BIP Computers building in Santiago de Chile. It’s an unassuming three-story structure built on a lot that’s zoned to allow a larger structure of up to twelve stories in height. Knowing that the building may not last very long (due to the favorable location and zoning), the design makes use of standard-sized, laminated timber beams that can be dismounted and used to reconstruct the entire building somewhere else. Mozo calls the idea "transitivity" — designing structures that can be easily broken down and reconstructed elsewhere.
The standard size of the timber beams, 9 x 34.2 cm, makes it easy to reconstruct. Otherwise, you’d have to label each beam and make sure to place them in exactly the same spot. Also, the beams were harvested responsibly. They look incredible, too, mixed with the white interior and darker roof. I also like how the building draws in ample natural light and has plenty of useful space.
This building has me thinking: Could the sustainability movement popularize design for reconstruction? Rather than demolish or deconstruct, why not reconstruct the building in a more favorable location? Or will the parts be too old and worn to be used again in a transplant?
Photo credits: Cristobal Palma.