How long should a building last? The short answer may be: the longer the better, as we touched on in a recent post. The long answer is a little more complicated when you consider the fact that the average exterior structure is designed to last anywhere from 30 to 300 years, while the life cycle of interior components varies widely — from five years (some appliances) to 100 years (stone flooring), according to a study by the National Association of Home Builders.
Also, when you consider the fact that the average American will move 11.7 times in their lifetime, as one blogger noted, the concept of temporary or nomadic residences start making a bit more sense. If the thought of living in a cardboard box doesn’t sound appealing, consider the fact that the beautiful pop-up home show above, designed by MultiPod Studio was built in just four days from recycled materials at a very low cost — and can be disassembled just as easily.
Projects like this help explain why the concept of Design for Disassembly (DfD) has gained prominence in the green building industry. So perhaps the question we should be asking isn’t “How long should a building last?” but rather, “Can a building be taken apart and recycled?”