Rotor Deconstruction is a cooperative that organises the reuse of construction materials.

We dismantle, process and trade salvaged building components.

Cooperative and collaborative

Rotor DC is a cooperative company which is entirely owned by its employees. We aspire to non-hierarchical forms of collaboration and this idea is a driving force in the development of our organisation. 

We are based in Brussels, and we attempt to be as generous with this city as it is with us. We seek to collaborate with contractors, non-profits and other companies, and to become a central part of a regional ecosystem for large scale reuse of building materials. While at the start in 2014, we almost exclusively sold materials dismantled by our own workers, our shop now also trades materials from several other suppliers such as demolition contractors and real estate companies.

More than just materials

By trading in salvaged materials, we help reduce the quantity of demolition waste, while offering quality building materials that have a negligible environmental impact.

Many of our materials are cheaper than new for the same quality. Some materials are equally expensive as new, but come with a great story, a deep patina or simply a clear conscience. And then, from time to time, we offer for sale pieces that were conceived by renowned designers, or created by skilled craftsmen, or made using technologies now out of reach. These pieces are priced a bit higher, but we hope the economies made with our more generic materials help bring them in reach of the many.

We have a strict policy with regards to exceptional architecture, and never get involved in demolition projects before they obtain the proper permits. We fully support maintenance and refurbishment strategies for existing buildings. We require documentation of ownership on all of the materials that transit through our shop.

Developing new sets of skills

While reusing building materials is as old as construction itself, building materials and techniques have significantly evolved since. We develop deconstruction techniques, logistical systems and remanufacturing installations for contemporary building materials, with a focus on finishing materials.

Our specialisations include

– repair and transformation of lighting equipment,
– a state of the art method for removing mortar from ceramic tiles
– the reprocessing of high quality ‘urban’ wood
– cleaning and preparing for reuse of furniture and building hardware, sanitary equipment
– planning and organising of salvage operations in large and complicated buildings

Origins

Rotor Deconstruction is an autonomous side-project that emanates from Rotor, a Brussels-based non-profit firm engaged in promoting and facilitating the reuse of building components as a strategy on the path towards a more resource-efficient materials economy. Since 2012, Rotor has been documenting existing dealers of secondhand building materials in Belgium and in neighbouring countries. The results are published on opalis.eu.

Through this study, we realised that despite the high level of  professionalisation of the sector, many dealers are focusing on rustic materials destined for the domestic rural market. Few were geared towards selling what comes out of large building compounds of the service sector, which then and now makes up the bulk of demolition debris in metropolitan areas like the Brussels Region. Rotor Deconstruction grew out of the realisation that certain dots needed urgent connection.

Awards (selection)

  • Global Award for Sustainable Architecture 2015, given by the LOCUS Foundation, under the protection of UNESCO.
  • Blueprint Architecture award 2015, given by Blueprint Magazine London.
  • Maaskant Prijs 2015, given to Maarten Gielen on behalf of Rotor by the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb.
  • Silver Publica Award in the category “Most Sustainable Public Market,” given at Publica 2016 in Brussels.
  • Life cycle in practice Award in the category recycling, given at ECOCIR 2016 in Gembloux.
  • Ecodesign Pro Award 2016, attributed by Ovam, the waste administration of the Flemish Region
  • Henry van de Velde Company Award 2016, received during the award ceremony on January 19th, 2017.
  • 2018 Schelling Architecture award