How to not demolish a building


  • Edited by 51N4E, l'AUC
  • English
  • Published in: 2023
  • 152 pages
  • 320 x 240
  • ISBN: 978-3-944074-41-2

Many architects and engineers today believe that the most sustainable building is the one that is never demolished. The third edition of the Chapters series developed by the Belgian architecture firm 51N4E therefore tells the story of the transformation of two office towers from the 1970s according to the principles of reduce-reuse-recycle.

Against all odds, the former World Trade Center in Brussels will be repurposed in a previously unimaginable way. After many years of vacancy, the building now stands for a new approach to urban development and becomes a showcase for dealing with building fabric from the 1970s that is threatened with demolition, in a more sustainable way.

This publication tells the story of the unlikely journey to obtain the building permit, tracing the events that led to this new lease of life. Starting from the initial dream of dismantling the World Trade Center, it recounts the complex and layered process that shaped the innovative adaptive-reuse project called ZIN. 

Even if the circular, spatial, and material setup is unique to the project, the concepts and the processes behind it are not. By breaking down the complexity of its components, we can understand what has happened, and—more importantly—what could happen to other buildings as well. That is the reason this publication bares witness: to learn how to not demolish a building. 

Published in the Chapters series so far: Skanderbeg Square Tirana, Design in Dialogue