The environmental variables in a situation such as that are many. One must weigh the condition of the building, and the materials used for the building. Even if a building is torn down, the elements involved can be recycled and reused in the new establishment, if at all salvageable.
It depends. If a building is replaced entirely then the materials that the building was made up of will be have to go somewhere. Also the new building will require new materials and fuel to build. Then you must consider the lifespan of a renovated building versus a new one- ie when will either no longer be usable. With this said here are some principles that could be applied to either building: with our current industrial system it is better to salvage and reuse materials than it is to source virgin resources, it is better to design with nature than in spite of it, and it is better to design for longevity and adaptability.
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