Deciding whether to renovate or rebuild with an existing property isn’t easy. Architects face a lot of questions about these projects, as do the owners themselves. Determining which route to follow, or forging a middle way, needs a lot of discussion and evaluation of wants and needs. I came across a really good article (in my opinion) about the question of renovation versus rebuilding (ie tear-down) from the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Residential Architect.

I’m somewhat reluctant to provide a link to this article* because the “read the magazine online” interface is so awful. But the information about renovating versus rebuilding is of interest, and this is a very good article about the pros and cons behind such a decision. Although the primary audience for the article is architects, I think it would also make for good reading for people who are considering renovation/replacement projects.

The questions in whether to try to renovate an existing building or to tear it down and rebuild can be complicated. The article covers a number of different conditions and cases, and discusses how the owners and architects arrived at their decision and how the project turned out. Some examples are cautionary tales rather than success stories.

This article also acknowledges the usefulness of preserving the materials and embodied energy of existing buildings, but without advocating for saving every last standing stick of framing.

In any case, here’s the link to the article. I should have this article in hardcopy, as well, for easier reading, at least for local friends. If I can find a better link to the content, I’ll add that in, too.