New Deconstruction Methods Replace Noisy And Toxic Building Demolition

Construction companies are developing green ways to disassemble empty buildings.

By Annette Barlow December 28, 2016

The internet is good for three things: remorseful binge shopping, cat memes, and oh-so-satisfying videos of buildings being razed to the ground. But as aesthetically pleasing as these demolitions are, they’re also fantastically destructive, toxic to their surrounding environments, and really rather noisy. Which is why some very clever engineering bods have developed a clean, safe, and even productive, way to dismantle unwanted buildings.

These new methods involve no dynamite and no bulldozing. Instead, deconstruction companies are starting to “unbuild” buildings, one level at a time, giving the impression to bystanders that—rather than the traditional kaboom and cloud of dust—the building is slowly shrinking until it disappears. These companies adopt one of two methods in their quest for a a cleaner, greener, and less intrusive method of deconstruction.

RelatedThese Liverpool Properties Renovated By Acclaimed Architects Will Forever Be Affordable To Locals

The Taisei Ecological Reproduction—or Tecorep—system encloses the top floors of the building in an architectural shroud, providing both shelter and sound proofing for the duration of the demolition. A crane is then suspended from the top of the sheltered zone, and after each set of levels is disassembled, the columns and crane supporting the ceilings are lowered. This is then repeated until the final, ground floor has disappeared. Tokyo’s Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka was deconstructed in this way, and the accompanying Youtube video is just as pleasing as the blowing-up kind.

But more than providing internet enjoyment, this method is significantly better for the environment. Dust, oxide and silica particles are dramatically contained, disassembled materials can be effectively recycled, and energy is captured and re-used from the act of the demolition itself. How? Well, an electric conversion system turns the process of lowering materials (kinetic energy) to the ground into a source of power, which fuels the lights and equipment on the site.

RelatedHouses Designed By Famous Architects Are Tough To Sell In Modern Market

The other method works in a similar fashion, but is quite simply reversed. The niftily titled Cut and Take Down Method, which works from the bottom up, reduces demolition time, noise pollution, and makes it easier to recycle the site’s materials, as they don’t have to be bundled up and lowered to the ground, as with the Tecorep system.

So, you’re no doubt thinking this sounds too good to be true: There has to be a downside to this approach, right? Well, of course. As much good as they both do for protecting the environment and the quality of life of surrounding residents, both these systems are less time and cost-effective than traditional demolition methods. What they can do, however, is provide architects with crucial lessons on how to incorporate built-in demolition tools at construction point. Clever indeed.



Annette Barlow



Annette is freelance editor, sub-editor, journalist and proofreader with a fierce love of all things feminist, food and music. She is a regular fixture on the arts, culture and feature desks at The Guardian, and her words have appeared on NME, Great British Chefs, The Fly, The Line of Best Fit and Australian Times.

    Stefano Boeri, the architect mastermind behind the famous plant-covered skyscrapers, is now designing Forest Cities in Liuzhou, China. #ForestCity #China
    Auction is the second scheduled in a month for a One57 unit and it could set a NYC foreclosure record. #BillionairesRow #Foreclosures
    Once a couch-surfing website, Airbnb moves on to luxury properties, further disrupting hospitality industry. #Airbnb #Luxury
Four Countries To Retire In With $200K In Savings—And How Much Real Estate Costs There
Ever dreamed of retiring abroad? You know, affordable healthcare, better climate, more positive news—becoming an expat seems like an enticing option, especially one you no…
While Other Real Estate Platforms Start Charging Agents $3-Per-Day Exposure Fee, Agorafy Remains Accessible To All
Real Estate searching platform are always finding news ways to diversify their revenues models. Case in point—on Tuesday July 18, Streeteasy, one of New York…
Is Real Estate Crowdfunding The Fix That Urban Housing In America Really Needs?
Saving money for a down payment? One can only hope. Most millennial in their twenties or thirties are mortified that they might never be able…
Brooklyn And Queens’ Real Estate Sub-Markets Continue Their Ascent To The New Heights
So, the sales prices in Brooklyn and Queens hit record highs. Again. Just like they did in December 2016 and at the end of this…
The Economy Of Car Services And Delivery Apps Might Be Making NYC Less Eco-Friendly
Living in an eco-friendly neighborhood is a good thing. And, as it always the case with the good things, it also costs more. High rents…
Building Communities: What The U.S. Developers Should Learn From Soho China
As our world emerges into the new period of globalization and technology, some of the most important by-products of this process are buildings that have…
Five Reasons Why All Entrepreneurs Must Keep Their Eyes On China
It is hard to overestimate the importance of Chinese influence on the modern global economy. Carving out a place in Chinese market and winning over…
Airbnb Up Their Game With A New Luxury Tier Featuring Mansions And Villas
Airbnb is about to seriously up their game. First, the company started testing a new service called Select in an attempt to push accommodation listings…