Precast Block Houses Built in the 1950s and Urban Mining Potential
he transformation of the urban environment in Moscow continues at a high pace with the new constructions, renovations, and demolitions. Identical mass housing blocks built in the 1950s and after, which are also prevalent over Europe, are of distinct importance in this transformation since they generate a precious resource of industrialized precast concrete components. A nine-story precast dwelling type of the specified period is the research material in this current study for the determination of present material stock and its usability. Original design booklets and guidelines published by the planning committees in the 1960s and 70s provided architectural design-related data -i.e., materials, dimensions, and assembly details. Moreover, the visual investigation of facade components on ten randomly selected buildings revealed their current state. Design data invariably showed that constructors typically gathered these precast components using steel anchors and cement, which naturally evokes the critical question for their possible separation and reuse. Additionally, the visual survey sufficiently illustrated that the surface quality of these components was high, which is a valuable hint for their further utilization. According to our simple calculations, the selected building type comprises 915 precast facade components, which results in 778 thousand for the entire series in Moscow. In brief, the possible recovery of this tremendous amount from the landfill or downcycling is crucial in terms of environmental welfare, as the components of other identical buildings in the city and the country. Owing to the presence of similar structures all over Europe, this verdict is also valid and useful for different contexts. Consequently, the precast components used during the 1950s over many countries are still re-usable and their separation from the demolition waste creates a significant environmental impact reduction.