AE34: Reclaimed Windows and Doors

Every now and then I come across small buildings that are an assemblage of reclaimed windows and doors fitted together like a game of Tetris. Many are like this glass house in, fittingly, Christiania, Denmark:

[Photo: seier+seier]

Or this Cabin in West Virginia by Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz:

As much as I like the appearance of these sort of makeshift constructions, I figure any sustainability points gained in reusing old windows and doors are offset by the heat gain and loss of what I imagine to be single panes of glass. Hence these elements are better suited for interiors, as in Studio Boot in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, by Studio Boot + Hilberink Bosch Architecten:

Or temporary installations, as in Bow-House in Heerlen, Netherlands, by Malka Architecture:

But easily the most ambitious project I've come across with the architectural element of reclaimed windows and doors is the Collage House in Mumbai, India, by S+PS Architects:

[Photo: Sebastian Zachariah]

Much like Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu appropriate tiles from demolished buildings for their campus structures in China, the folks at S+PS have incorporated old windows and doors from demolished buildings in Mumbai. According to Domus, where I spotted this project, the incorporation of historical elements doesn't end at the walls at the front of the house: "Hundred-year-old columns from a dismantled house bring back memories ... One finds use of recycled materials like old textile blocks, flooring made out of old Burma teak rafters and purlins, colonial furniture, fabric waste (chindi)."

[Photo: Sebastian Zachariah]

With such a strong visual statement on the street, the use of old windows and doors is as much a political expression as it is about building green.


  1. Came across a minor example in the West Bund: Atelier MOA by Atelier GOM.

    Also, I would think Alexander Brodsky would be essential to any such list, especially his Pavilion for Vodka Ceremonies, but also the Apshu Restaurant, and Rotunda, (which was reconstructed on a smaller scale later at the Perm Modern Art Museuem. [All photos by Yuri Palmin]

    1. Thanks for those links. My familiarity with Brodsky is limited to the PAPress book with Ilya Utkin and the installation at the latest Venice Biennale.

    2. Their Glass Tower etching might be read as a premonition of these projects.


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