The Times is running a piece today on the groundbreaking for the new Bank of America building at One Bryant Park, the first LEED platinum high-rise:
"...a $1 billion project that included several unusual expenses like an electricity generating station, which is to meet most normal electrical needs. In addition, heat generated by the $10 million, 4.6-megawatt power plant will be used to make ice at night to help air-condition the building. The building will also capture and reuse all rainwater and wastewater and will be built largely from recycled and recyclable materials. It will make extensive use of lighting and dimming systems that reduce electrical light levels when daylight is available. Another energy-saving and air-quality feature is a system that ventilates the building by delivering air from an under-floor system instead of using overhead ducts."
Why would you need to make it from recyclable materials? Seems somewhat pessimistic -- towers aren't disposable. Though I suppose we've learned something about the using toxic materials from the World Trade Towers (and previously from the use of asbestos and other environmental disasters); but non-toxic isn't the same as recyclable.
Given the regularity with which buildings are renovated and upgraded (the renovation industry is beginning to overtake new building) I would argue that using recyclable materials indicates foresight rather than pessimism. In the long run, aspects of every building will be disposable at some point.
The other fact, of course, is that they're hoping for a LEED Platinum rating - a rare and ambitious thing. The NYT article has a pretty good overview of the USGBC's stringent rating process, but suffice to say that the design team has to fight for as many credits as possible. To get to your point, one of these is the Materials and Resources credit for Recycled Content (5% post-consumer and 1/2 post-industrial). Indoor Air Quality is a separate credit point, determined by the use of non-toxic, low-emitting materials & so forth.