Anyone walking past the ZIN construction site today will see an (almost) finished building. But the transformation of the former WTC 1 & 2 towers into the innovative ZIN project did not happen overnight. In ‘HOW TO NOT DEMOLISH A BUILDING’ architecture firms 51N4E and l’AUC tell the complex and multi-layered story of the genesis of ZIN, the pioneer project in the North area of Brussels in terms of circularity, redevelopment and sustainability. From construction permit to redevelopment, from 1970 to today.

Many architects and engineers today believe that the most sustainable building is one that is never demolished. In the third edition of its Chapters series, Belgian architecture firm 51N4E tells the story behind the transformation of the two well-known 1970s office towers that were dismantled and redeveloped according to the principles of reduce-reuse-recycle into the ZIN project. The book consists of a collection of essays, interviews and quotes that offer innovative insights into the context of WTC, ZIN and, by extension, city of Brussels. A reflection from different perspectives and in different timeframes.

Learning how to no demolish a building

Written in five parts, the book highlights each of the aspects that led to the reuse of the WTC towers in Brussels. Each part is a stand-alone story but taken together, the complexity of the whole project can be deduced from it. In addition, the five aspects also serve other, future projects: they can be used as a way of looking ahead, as an example to bring order to the mess inherent in similar redevelopment projects of such scale and scope. Finally, the publication includes a separate booklet with collected texts written during the project, reflecting in their own way on what has happened and what might happen next.


The book is on sale at the following retailers:

  • Peinture Fraiche, Ixelles
  • BOZAR Bookshop, Brussels
  • CIVA Bookshop, Brussels
  • Copyright, Antwerp and Ghent
  • Online:

Publication edited by 51N4E and l’AUC
Graphic design by Studio Otamendi
Published by Ruby Press
With the support of

How To Not Demolish A Building Cover