New-age demolition

Metropolitan skylines are lovely things: crammed with gravity defying testaments to human engineering, steeples of steel and concrete, spires of glass and chrome. Skyscrapers take us to new heights (sic) and can be as important to a city’s identity as the ground it stands upon. But what happens when the time comes to freshen up the skyline? Skyscrapers have shelf-lives like anything else. Wrecking balls are out, explosives can be effective, but pretty dirty, as shown in this recent demolition in Houston, Texas.

But in a city as built-up as Tokyo, where shutting streets and filling the air with more dust particulate is unfeasible, one company is taking demolition inside…

Taisei Corporation is using its Ecological Reproduction System (Tecorep) to gradually lower the 140m high Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, to the ground.

“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,” Ichihara told Japan Times.

While the hotel’s outside is a picture of serenity, inside heavy machinery removes the building’s fabric, salvaging as much as possible to recycle for reuse, while temporary jacks and pillars maintain the floor before it’s ready to lower.

Incredibly, this sort of demolition actively generates energy to power the machinery it uses: the jacks used to lower the floors harnesses the energy of the falling floors which can then be used in other machines.

According to Taisei Corp, the entire process reduces noise by between 17 and 23 decibels, reduces dust levels by 90 percent and can be carried out at any time, regardless of the weather conditions.

new-age demolition

Ichihara predicts that Japan’s skyscrapers have a life expectancy of 30 to 40 years. If he is correct, nearly 100 of Tokyo’s highrises will be replaced over the next decade. It will be up to the buildings’ owners whether Taisei corp’s top down or maybe Kagima corp’s (see below) bottom up demolition would better suit their needs.

Info and pics via Japan Times

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