On the Butcher’s Block

Mae Murphy 
Cameron Wahlberg

 DLR Group B.Arch Integrated Design Studio Prize Winning Project , 2020

Fourth year BARCH studio: “Making With” Instructor: Shelby Doyle

Now more than ever, the current architectural building construction methods are contributing to an immense amount of earth exploitation and permanent resource depletion also known in slaughterhouse terms as hacking. What happens when there are no more resources left to feed a consumerist appetite of extraction, abandonment and exploitation of materials? We butcher.

To butcher is to carefully extract, examine, and reconstruct artifacts. It is to carefully take pieces from existing sites and reassemble into new structures. We propose a space in Des Moines, IA at the abandoned East DSM Train Depot to provide care on a material scale through the process of circular construction economy. A practice keeping materials and products in the economy as long as possible by re-using or butchering them. The building provides robotic analysis, deconstruction, & maintenance. It is key to kickstarting the process of creating a material library, research database and a path forward in the construction industry in the U.S.