Commercial and industrial demolition companies in Japan are using innovative approaches to dismantle some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. Check out this YouTube time lapse video showing the so-called “Hat Down Method” being put to good use on the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, one of the tallest skyscrapers ever knocked down in Japan. Your eyes may seem to be tricking you as the top of the 450-foot-tall building slowly lowers.
This unusual approach is the work of Taisei Ecological Reproduction System, or Tecorep. The company was founded to find solutions to a common challenge – namely, how to dismantle the world’s tallest buildings. To understand this problem, let’s back up a step and examine how tall buildings are typically demolished.
Commercial and industrial demolition services begin skyscraper demolition by covering the sides of the building while the top story is left open to the sky. “Wrapping” the building helps limit dust and noise pollution. Cranes are then utilized to bring demolition material from the top story to the ground, where it can be disposed of or recycled. The other alternative is to use explosives to implode buildings from the ground up. However, as building materials bring an increasingly handsome recycling return, many demolition firms prefer the open-sky method.
However, even cranes can’t reach the tallest buildings, particularly those over 100 meters in height. That dilemma prompted the founding of Tecorep. The company came up with an innovative way to dismantle Japan’s loftiest edifices buildings – increasing numbers of which will be demolished in the coming decade. First, Tecorep installs temporary columns that lower the building’s roof story by story as demolition work is completed. The cranes are brought inside the building, allowing the whole dismantling process to be sealed off from the external world, greatly reducing dust and noise pollution. The company estimates that its groundbreaking process reduces dust by up to 90 percent and noise pollution by 17 to 23 decibels.
Another huge advantage: This demolition approach allows for year-round demolition work, regardless of weather conditions. And, if neighbors agree, work can be conducted around the clock. Both factors greatly improve productivity; the enclosed demolition approach is also said to improve worker safety. Finally, Tecorep is able to power lighting and equipment when the cranes lower materials, in much the same way hybrid cars actually generate power when brakes are activated.
[Photo by: kobakou, via CC License]