Catherine Commons Deconstruction Project and Community Salvage Effort

Waste(d) Imagination Tour

Catherine Commons Deconstruction Project and Community Salvage Effort

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Just Places Lab


Tip: If you have unlimited data or can log in to Wi-Fi (e.g., at Greenstar across the street), you can watch a video from Cornell Chronicle about the Catherine Commons Deconstruction Project.

206 College Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850

In late 2021, plans for a large-scale, 300-unit housing development on College Avenue called for the demolition of 11 residential structures originating from the year 1910. In close collaboration with the principal developers, Finger Lakes ReUse and the Cornell Circular Construction Lab, with the help of experts from the Seattle-based Building Deconstruction Institute, convinced the building owner to deconstruct - instead of demolish - one of the structures (206 College Avenue).

Over five days in January 2022, a crew of up to eight workers methodically carved the 420-square meter, 13-bedroom structure into sections. Panels of roof, walls, and floor as large as 2.5 by 5.5 meters were lifted on a flatbed and hauled to a local warehouse for the materials to be processed, salvaged, and eventually resold. 206 College Avenue eventually became a neat assemblage of valuable parts ready for resale, while most of the ten neighboring buildings became debris in a landfill.

Finger Lakes ReUse also organized a group of community volunteers to salvage as much of the several other buildings as possible. This ‘community salvage’ effort drew retired contractors, students, and elected officials, among others.

Visit the Cornell Circular Construction Lab website to learn more about this project.

We also recommend reading about the project in this Cornell Chronicle article.

Directions: You can proceed down the hill to downtown Ithaca. Or if you are staying near Cornell University, you could walk back the way you came and continue onto campus to see many examples of preservation, including Morrill Hall.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Waste(d) Imagination Tour


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