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The Forgotten Side of Progress


For the past century, civilisation has been in a constant mode of progress.

This has meant the creation of super cities that no longer have free land to build on.

We talk a lot about new development, however we talk little about the removal of buildings and demolition.

Over the coming decades we will witness many structures requiring removal. This could be from bad design and planning policies of the past, poor construction quality or the building not servicing the society and it’s needs.

It’s a story being played out in Japan at the moment, one of the world’s most advanced modern cities. In Japan alone, 797 skyscrapers are over 100m tall, with 150 of these skyscrapers aged between 30-40 years. This has prompted companies to innovate new ideas for safe demolition in crowded city districts. Historically this has been the time period when these buildings are earmarked for demolition, however due to the size of these buildings, conventional techniques make the task almost too challenging.

Tai Sei, Kajima and Takenaka are three companies that are pioneering a new way of demolition.

Rather than demolishing the building all at once, these companies remove floor by floor over a period of time. No wrecking ball or explosives.

The process is top down, and from a distance it looks like a building is slowly shrinking. Pictured is the iconic ‘Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka’ missing it’s top thirty metres.

Dust particles are decreased by a factor of 100 compared to conventional methods.

I think we will be seeing much more demolition make way for new structures in Australia over the coming decade. Smart ways of doing this will be important. Even smarter financially and ecologically will be to get the structure right to begin with.

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