Deconstruction @ Reciprocity

An exhibition on salvaging and reusing building components, held in a spectacular venue: the half-deconstructed performance hall of the Athénée Léonie de Waha, a listed Art-Deco school designed by Jean Moutschen, 1938.

The term DECONSTRUCTION, in the realm of building, refers to a form of reverse assembly: the careful dismantling of the constituents of a building. Contrary to traditional demolition, which is destructive, deconstruction aims at the re-use of components.

In earlier times, in other places, it was just plain common sense not to trash a sound material; most building components were re-used, sometimes more than once. Today, the approach to matter in the construction sector is split between the preservationist stance, on the one hand, carefully preserving entire buildings for heritage purposes, and on the other, the unapologetic replacement of the existing with the new, entailing the destruction or trashing of all components, deemed obsolete at once. In this context, dismantling and re-use have become marginal practices.

Despite the best intentions of policy makers, expressed in many discourses on the “circular economy”, making re-use happen in practice remains a challenge today: legal frameworks need to be adapted, public authorities must be brought to modify their procedures, designers need to prepare for a change in their working methods and a network of new actors who are ready to get their hands dirty, needs to be set up. In short, a whole new specialized economy is to be developed, progressively. This exhibition talks about that challenge: the pitfalls to avoid and the tips and tricks to develop in order to make re-use on a large scale viable.


A project commissioned by

Reciprocity design liège

Curation and scenograph

Rotor asbl

Project leaders

Benjamin Lasserre, Lionel Devlieger.

Research team

Lola Bazin, Lionel Billiet, Michaël Ghyoot, Maarten Gielen, Sandrine Tonnoir.

Build-up team

Michaël Ghyoot, Sébastien Paulet, Claudine Perron, Tim Rottiers, Adeline Van Hoof, Sandrine Tonnoir, RG group, Rein De Wilde.

Translations and proofreading

Melanie Tamm, Claire Suaud, Louise Vines.


Oct. 1 - Oct.31, 2015


Athénée Léonie de Waha, Liège, 96 Boulevard d'Avroy

Thanks to

L’Athénée Léonie de Waha, La Ville de Liège, La Province de Liège, Befimmo, Inge Bertels (VUB), Rudi Creeten (Athénée Léonie de Waha), Jo De Coninck (Aalst Verhuur), Katrien Doggen (de Reinaerthoeve), Stefanie Everaert (Doorzon), Jan Franck (Franck), François Gérard (Ville de Liège), Inge Ghijs (De Standaard), Laurent Gueuning (Théâtre Varia), Tatiana Klejniak, Caroline Lateur (Doorzon), Marie-Jeanne Lempereur (Athénée Léonie de Waha), Pierre Maes (pierre maes architecture), Christian Mans (Athénée Léonie de Waha), Benoît Misonne (Pierre Bleue Belge), Marcel Olislagers (‘t Neerhof), Bernard Orban (Laurenty), Orchestre National de Belgique, Recup’tout, Freya Schmidt, Bob Smolders (Athénée Léonie de Waha), SPI, Lucien Toffoli (Athénée Léonie de Waha), Francis Tourneur (Pierres et Marbres de Wallonie), Rolph Van Dijck (Van Dijck), Valentine Van Roye, Benjamin Vergauwen (PolderMAS), George Vermelle (Noeux-Mémoire), Alexis Wielemans (VIOE).