Japan Perfects the Art of Delicate Demolition

John Metcalfe looks at how one Japanese company is advancing a more quieter sensitive method for demolishing high-rise buildings, floor by floor.
January 13, 2013, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Leave it to Japan to turn one of the dirtiest and noisiest processes of the urban lifecycle – the demolition of highrises – into a neat, quiet and almost cute affair," says Metcalfe. And in the video below you can see the innovative "Taisei Ecological Reproduction" system being deployed by Japanese construction company Taisei to demolish the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka in Tokyo.

"Basically," explains Metcalfe, "construction workers build a hermetic structure covering the top floors of a tower that is supported by powerful jacks. Inside the structure are the heavy machines and demolition crews, who take apart the walls and cut the floors into concrete slabs that they lower to the ground via interior cranes. When they finish removing one floor, the jacks move the 'big hat' to the next one down, creating the impression for outside observers that a huge, disembodied mouth is consuming the tower from the top down."

Among the benefits of this method of de-construction: reducing dust pollution by 90 percent, muffling noise pollution, and powering the lights and machinery on the construction site through regenerative braking. Plus, it looks pretty funny in a time lapse video.

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Published on Thursday, January 10, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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