Symposium October 26-27, 2018

HERITAGE IN REVERSE: Material Values, Waste and Deconstruction 


  • Susan Ross. May 3, 2019. Invited speaker. “Réinvention durable du campus de l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique,” Docomomo Quebec (UQAM, Montreal), Journée d’étude “Vers le patrimoine moderne durable”
  • Susan Ross. April 30, 2019. Lecture. “Research on waste heritage as part of the New Paradigms New Tools SSHRC grant.” CIMS (Carleton).
  • Susan Ross. April 3, 2019. Lecture. Les déchet architecturaux: réutilisés, déplacés, revalorisés as part of the Séminaire en muséologie et pratiques des arts: L’objet (prof. Mélanie Boucher), at UQO Pavilion Lucien-Brault, Gatineau, Quebec.
  • Susan Ross. January 18, 2019. Lecture. “Re-using / Re-locating, Architecture’s Discards”. Friends of Art History Visual Culture Lecture Series. St. Patrick’s Building, Carleton University.
  • Susan Ross. Dec.6, 2018. Invited speaker. “The 2011 Montreal Roundtable: Impact of Sustainability Strategies on Heritage Conservation Practice.” Looking Back Looking Forward: Heritage Conservation and Thirteen Montreal Roundtables.
  • Susan Ross. August 29, 2018. Conference paper. “Vancouver Experiment: Reinventing a Modern University Campus.” Docomomo International conference, Metamorphosis, the Continuity of Change, Ljubljana, Slovenia. NB. Includes the Armory/C.K.Choi Building deconstruction/reuse case study.
  • Creba, Alison. June 21, 2018. “WHAT HAVE WE GOT HERE?  Process and Place: A study of heritage value in building deconstruction and material reuse within a Belgian context.” Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium.

“Inspired by Rotor’s practice of looking closely at not only physical components, but the various actors, settings and relationships which govern the material environment, this project adopts Rotor’s methodology of first interrogating the existing conditions in order to develop its hypothesis.  In doing so, it begins by asking: What have we got here?  With an emphasis on the What and Here, this question is specifically aimed at the deconstruction and reuse sector in Brussels, Belgium, where Rotor operates as the primary facilitator of architectural materials reuse.  Through this basic line of questioning, this inquiry aims to identify the relationship between the places and processes involved in the disassembly recovery and reuse of architectural elements through an immersive internship at Rotor.” 

  • Ross, Susan / Creba, Alison.Feb.8, 2018. “GAPS: Building/Material values, Heritage waste and Deconstruction / Case Studies ERA Architects, Toronto, ON New Paradigms New Tools Research Grant.” NSERC CREATE Heritage Forum.
  • Creba, Alison. September 26, 2017. “Heritage Waste and Deconstruction, Considering Material Values in Canadian Cities.” Decon + Reuse ’17, Portland, Oregon.
  • Creba, Alison. May 12, 2017. “Heritage / Waste / Inventories – New Paradigms New Tools,” Carleton Immersive Media Studio.
  • Ross, Susan. Feb.24, 2017. “Heritage and Waste Values,” ERA Associates, Toronto.

ERA poster 2017Feb.24

  • Ross, Susan. “Urban (Waste) Places and Heritage Values.”Association for Critical Heritage Studies, Montreal, June 7, 2016.
  • Ross, Susan.“Heritage (Waste) and Sustainability: Recent Developments in Policy and Research,” National Trust for Canada, Calgary, October 18, 2015.
  • Ross, Susan. Flotsam, Jetsam and Derelict, Classifications of Architectural Waste.” Paper presented at the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada Annual Conference in Fredericton, NB, May 2014.

“In maritime law, “flotsam, jetsam and derelict” identify three categories of shipwreck waste, based on potential residual value. Could such a system be a useful model for classifying architectural waste? What values would inform such a system? Material culture, heritage conservation and environmental design each contribute a distinct understanding of architectural waste.But these parallel discourses suggest diverging value systems, where waste can be cultural artifact, building feature, and or re-cycled material. While salvaging can give value to materials reused on other sites as part of an environmental ethic, this is at cross-purposes with the principle of integrity associated with preserving materials in situ. Place and intention are thought to communicate historic or aesthetic value that only endures in a specific site. But dislodging an artifact from its original context can also shift meaning and create new value. This paper explores the classification of architectural waste with reference to recent Canadian and international examples. This includes buildings used as ‘quarries’, salvaged materials reused in situ or in new contexts, and artist-curator practices that collect and re-interpret architectural waste.”

  • Ross, Susan. “Salvaging the Interior: Cultural and Environmental Issues with Repurposing Old Materials in New Spaces.” Design Issues, Algonquin College, November 5, 2013.


Repot cover  CIPA2017_Creba_Poster_final draft copy

“Elsewhere, the (Red River College) project’s approach to reusing materials raises critical questions on the treatment of architectural fragments. In some cases salvaged character-defining elements are reinstated in new interior spaces, in others built fabric was treated as a source for recycling, to be reused as originally intended (brick in solid masonry walls) or in new ways (wood beams as benches). The result, which may be confusing in expression, suggests the need for clearer guidelines on the treatment of architectural fragments, one that respects heritage value while offering opportunities for materials reuse.”

  • Powter, Andrew and Susan Ross. (2005). “Integrating Environmental and Cultural Sustainability for Heritage Properties.” Association for Preservation Technology Bulletin 36.4: 5-11.

Cover Heritage Spring 2006 APT Bulletin cover 2005