The ongoing demolition of a Tokyo skyscraper makes it look like the 460-foot-tall building is shrinking. Taisei Corp., the construction company taking down the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, is using a new demolition technique, disassembling the building from the top down, floor by floor. No mess, no dust -- and it's eco-friendly to boot.
Workers are using the top levels of the building as an enclosed workspace supported by temporary columns that are lowered by jacks as each floor is removed. A crane on the inside of the building works to deconstruct each floor. "It's kind of like having a disassembly factory on top of the building and putting a big hat there, and then the building shrinks from the top," a Taisei rep told Japanese art and design blog Spoon & Tamago.
The blog noted that this new demolition method reduces construction noise by 25 percent and creates 90 percent less dust than the typical wrecking ball or implosion methods. And it's more energy-efficient: As the crane moves debris, it generates electricity that powers other equipment, making it a clean-energy project.
The hotel has been lowered 100 feet so far, and it will continue to shrink until it reaches ground level. It was unclear when the demolition would be complete. The Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka was slated for demolition and closed in early 2011, because it required extensive renovations, but was reopened to house victims of the massive Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March of that year.
This is the coolest demolition we've seen -- and we've seen plenty. We actually love seeing before-and-after pics of teardowns, especially huge mansions turned into gaping holes in the earth. (That might sound sick, and we'll be the first to admit that we kind of are.) We can think of a few striking examples of celebrity teardowns that turned our heads. Click through the gallery below to check them out.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said that the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka was closed because of damage from the March 2011 earthquake. The decision to close and raze it occurred before the disaster.
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