deconstruction
 n.Gloss: the re-use of discarded or dismantled building materials in home construction. «Instead of having her 1,300-square-foot house bulldozed, she hired Jon Alexander, a contractor who shared her environmentalism and was willing to dismantle the home shingle by beam, and build a replacement with the same two-by-fours.…Ms. Keller was able to reuse around 90 percent of the original house.…Due to rising landfill costs, tighter recycling guidelines and the growing trend toward ecologically sound building methods, this sort of home “deconstruction,” as the practice is called, is starting to catch on.» —“Recycling the Whole House” by Kristina Shevory New York Times Oct. 18, 2007. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. Eric Buck says:

    There’s already a sizeable claim to the term as is evidenced in Wikipedia:

    “Deconstruction is in fact much closer to the original meaning of the word ‘analysis’ itself, which etymologically means “to undo” — a virtual synonym for “to de-construct.” … If anything is destroyed in a deconstructive reading, it is not the text, but the claim to unequivocal domination of one mode of signifying over another. A deconstructive reading is a reading which analyzes the specificity of a text’s critical difference from itself.”

    If one were to use a word with construction in it to describe the re-use of building materials, perhaps re-construction would be more apt.

    Eric Buck (an architect who suffered deconstructionist theory as applied to architecture in graduate school)

  2. Steve Barron says:

    Sorry, this seems to be being used as a VERB, not a noun. If they called the new structure a deconstruction, that would be a noun.

  3. No, Steve, it’s clearly a noun in the quote. It’s the act of deconstructing, which makes it a noun.

  4. Mitch says:

    More examples, from the October 2007 issue of This Old House magazine.

    “The Recycled, Repurposed, Nontoxic House” (p.88):
    “The 13-month renovation kicked off with a six-week deconstruction, a careful disassembling of the house’s parts to save them for reuse…”

    “Sum of its Parts” (p. 104):
    “When an old house faces demolition, a deconstruction crew offers an alternative to the landfill: Unbuild it piece by piece to preserve and recycle its period materials.”

    Also, from the magazine’s web site (URL):
    “Second Chance gives jobs to the city’s unemployed by training them to do deconstruction, which is basically unbuilding old houses and giving their components a new lease on life.”

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