Embodied Energy on Refurbishmnet vs. Demolition: Perspectives on the Implosion of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino

March 3, 2021

Trump Plaza Implosion Image by ABC News

Embodied Energy on Refurbishment vs. Demolition: Perspectives on the Implosion of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino

The recent implosion of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City has been quite the topic of discussion among those in the building industry. The debate over demolition vs. embodied energy is one heard worldwide. Here, we share two opinion pieces on the subject. The first is by AIA National Past President, Carl Elefante, FAIA. The second is by Howard Leroy Davis, a Member Emeritus of AIA West Jersey, accessible through the link to nj.com. We welcome and encourage further discussion on the subject through any of our social media outlets, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Instagram. 

A Cloud of Dust, A Hulking Pile of Ruin

© Carl Elefante 2021
 
The metaphor for his presidency was simply too delicious. Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small quipped about a fictitious call from former Vice President Mike Pence assuring the Mayor that he would not interfere. So, in a cloud of dust, a relic of the Trump empire descended into a hulking pile of ruin. Once Atlantic City’s glitziest hotel and casino, the implosion of Trump Plaza’s 34 story tower was heralded as progress. Exorcizing Trump’s legacy of bankruptcy was clearly a powerful motivation. But it is deeply regrettable that Trump’s monument to excess was obliterated with an act of monumental waste.
 
How woke must America become before it wakens to its irresponsibility, its immorality even, perpetrating waste at this scale? Buildings can be renovated and repurposed. Go to Rome. Caesar Augustus’ two-thousand-year-old Teatro di Marcello was converted into an apartment building. Surely adapting Trump Plaza presented less of a challenge.
 
How wasteful was the demolition of Trump Plaza? Its contribution to climate change is a particularly relevant measure as the United States reenters the Paris Agreement. Wasting thousands of tons of concrete causes thousands of tons of carbon pollution. Greenhouse gas emissions to manufacture and construct a building the size and character of the Trump Plaza tower is roughly equivalent to the annual carbon pollution from 1,100 automobiles. Even if the tower had been stripped to its concrete frame and reconstructed inside and out, the avoided carbon pollution would still total more than 700 cars.
 
Turning Trump’s broken promise into rubble clearly hit the jackpot for some in Atlantic City. But the looming climate crisis demands that we use resources more wisely. My vote would have been adapting Trump Plaza into affordable housing for some of the thousands of minimum-wage hospitality workers who keep the wheels spinning in Atlantic City’s casinos.
 

Please CLICK HERE to read For earth’s sake, Trump Plaza implosion shouldn’t have happened,
the opinion of Howard Leroy Davis, a Member Emeritus of AIA West Jersey, published by nj.com.


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The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of AIA New Jersey or any employee thereof. AIA New Jersey makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.

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Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment. Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through a dynamic network of more than 250 chapters and more than 95,000 member architects and design professionals, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. The organization’s local chapter, AIA New Jersey, has served as the voice of the architectural profession in the Garden State since 1900. Based in Trenton, AIA New Jersey has over 2,000 members across six sections. For more information, please visit http://www.aia-nj.org

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Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment.

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