_____________________________________________________________________ Contact Us

Demonstrating the viability of sustainable concepts and practices in urban environments through research, education, and hands-on projects.

Skip to:

Deconstruction advocacy

View Slideshow

Deconstruction advocacy

Ted Reiff (center) of The ReUse People and contractor Ken Ortiz (far right) meet with UHC.

I have materials to donate
I have a home or building to deconstruct
The Rebuilding Exchange
What is deconstruction?
Upcoming deconstructions
Completed deconstructions
Chicago’s first residential deconstruction
Media coverage/ media resources
Learn more

I have materials to donate

If you want to donate selected building materials, appliances, or equipment, check out the new Rebuilding Exhange!
See also our blog entry Reusing building materials and appliances.

Now, pass the word on, and take a moment to learn about deconstruction.

I have a home or building to deconstruct

We know folks out there are hearing about deconstruction by the volume of calls and emails we get at Urban Habitat Chicago. Please keep ‘em coming!

If you already know about deconstruction and need a quote for your deconstruction project, contact local deconstructor Ken Ortiz with OBI Deconstruction at (312) 607-1528 or Ted Reiff with The ReUse People at (510) 557-1538.

If you want to know more about deconstruction, read on.

While we encourage this great alternative to the wrecking ball, Urban Habitat Chicago is a small nonprofit, and does not have the resources to actually deconstruct your home or commercial property or provide quotes - leave this to the professionals!

The first round of deconstructed materials coming in

The Rebuilding Exchange

A partnership between the Delta Institute and The ReUse People of America, Chicagoland’s Rebuilding Exhange will collect donated used building materials from deconstruction projects, renovations and other sources for resale to the general public at a very low cost.

For more information, or to donate materials, please call Elise Zelechowski at the Delta Institute at (312) 554-0900, ext 20.

What is deconstruction?

Deconstruction, the process of carefully dismantling a building in order to salvage components for reuse, results in products for sale, a trained labor force, and improved environmental quality by keep air and water cleaner while diverting thousands of tons of material from overtaxed landfills.
Demolition, on the other hand, results in garbage for the landfill and is often a public nuisance and environmental hazard.

UHC is helping make deconstruction a real possibility in Chicago through its advocacy and outreach.

Attend the lecture Deconstruction: The Next Step for True Sustainability in Chicago and read about our August 15, 2006 lecture at Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT).

Upcoming deconstructions

Please stay tuned.

Completed deconstructions

Which way to another Chicago residential deconstruction? Ken Ortiz and homeowner Timothy Harris (right) stand in front of 2929 S. Quinn in Chicago’s historic Bridgeport neighborhood.


  • 1932 residence in Wilmette - begun January 28, completed May


  • 2929 S. Quinn - begun November, completed December
  • 4800 W. Montrose - begun November, completed December
  • 1091 Skokie Ridge Rd - begun November, completed December
  • 3905 N. Janssen Ave. - begun June, completed August

(click ‘View Slideshow’ at top of page for photos)

Left: Deconstruction begins at 3905 N. Janssen (left). Right: Ted (at right) explains the process to UHC’s Andrew Arbetter.

Chicago’s first residential deconstruction

3905 N. Janssen Ave.
Status: completed August 2007

On June 14, 2007, Chicago’s first residential deconstruction project that was consciously planned and permitted as such, began at 3905 N. Janssen Ave. Within a matter of weeks, OBI Deconstruction will reduce this two-story Chicago residence to its foundation… and piles of neatly organized building components ready for re-use.

Partial schedule:

  • June 9-10: Demolition auction by Murco
  • June 14: Deconstruction began (removal of doors, windows, cabinets)
  • June 15: Press releases available (see links below)
  • June 18-22: Removal of finished flooring, drywall, plaster and lath
  • June 25-29: Removal of roofing, sheathing, rafters, wall studs, and siding
  • July 2: Press conference; press kits available for media

Media coverage

“What is Deconstruction?” brochure by Dana Simpson, UHC Graphics Coordinator (click image to download).

Media resources

Learn more

Top of Page