To redirect the process of building and city making to a more sustainable future, we propose a radical shift: the priority of reuse. Following the logic and value system of the 'waste pyramid' Reduce/Reuse/Recycle, the reuse of existing buildings and structures is introduced as a priority over new development - avoiding unnecessary expenditures. Before thinking of something new, potential materials, physical, historic, architectonic and social resources of the existing should be discovered, reused and developed. In decisions about demolition or reuse, all these opportunities have to be taken into account in a holistic lifecycle assessment.
Within a growing and developing world society, our need for new dwellings and cities is indisputable. However, these buildings should be conceived in a way that both compliments and contributes to existing elements. If one looks close enough, there is always something offered. In reality the tabula rasa is a myth - a false promise artificially constructed by erasing valuable heritage. As the often shrinking postindustrial societies of highly developed countries have already overspent on resources and embodied energy - our second chance is not renewal or replacement but improvement of the existing.
Radical reuse enriches new developments with layers and traces of history - providing identity and authenticity to the otherwise replicable 'new'.
The exhibition in Shenzen illustrates projects of Muck PetzetArchitekten along with additional material, in order to highlight this potential and propagate an attitude of radical reuse.