Incredible Shrinking Building in Tokyo Skyscraper Demolition

Tokyo skyscraper demolition: Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka

The ongoing demolition of a Tokyo skyscraper makes it look like the 460-foot-tall building is shrinking. Taisei Corp., the construction company taking down the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, is using a new demolition technique, disassembling the building from the top down, floor by floor. No mess, no dust -- and it's eco-friendly to boot.

Workers are using the top levels of the building as an enclosed workspace supported by temporary columns that are lowered by jacks as each floor is removed. A crane on the inside of the building works to deconstruct each floor. "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 from the top," a Taisei rep told Japanese art and design blog Spoon & Tamago.

The blog noted that this new demolition method reduces construction noise by 25 percent and creates 90 percent less dust than the typical wrecking ball or implosion methods. And it's more energy-efficient: As the crane moves debris, it generates electricity that powers other equipment, making it a clean-energy project.

The hotel has been lowered 100 feet so far, and it will continue to shrink until it reaches ground level. It was unclear when the demolition would be complete. The Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka was slated for demolition and closed in early 2011, because it required extensive renovations, but was reopened to house victims of the massive Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March of that year.

This is the coolest demolition we've seen -- and we've seen plenty. We actually love seeing before-and-after pics of teardowns, especially huge mansions turned into gaping holes in the earth. (That might sound sick, and we'll be the first to admit that we kind of are.) We can think of a few striking examples of celebrity teardowns that turned our heads. Click through the gallery below to check them out.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said that the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka was closed because of damage from the March 2011 earthquake. The decision to close and raze it occurred before the disaster.

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Incredible Shrinking Building in Tokyo Skyscraper Demolition (VIDEO)

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a modern kind of guy, so he wanted this old-school Spanish Colonial wiped out -- even if it was historic. Jobs found himself in the middle of an epic battle with preservationists when he applied for a permit to have his Woodside, Calif., home demolished. The house, known as the Jackling House, was originally designed by influential architect George Washington Smith for copper magnate Daniel C. Jackling in the 1920s. Preservationists fought Jobs all the way to the California Supreme Court, but the tech legend eventually won out.

Jobs had lived there for 10 years, then moved out and left it to fall into disrepair for several years afterward. He even called it “one of the biggest abominations of a house I’ve ever seen.” His plan was to build a smaller, more modern home in its place -- but he died before he had the opportunity.

Photo: Jonathan Haeber

In February 2011, Jobs brought down the entire 17,000-square-foot home in a single day. The mansion was reduced to rubble, finally giving Jobs room to build the dream home he always wanted, but would never build.

Photo: Jonathan Haeber

The lot was left barren once the house was taken down.

Wayne Johnson thought his dreams had come true when he renovated his million-dollar home in Marblehead, Mass. But for his neighbors, it was a nightmare. The neighbors complained that the additions that Johnson put on his home blocked their view of the water. They filed suit against Johnson, claiming that he violated local zoning laws, and a 16-year court battle ensued. Finally, last December, a judge ruled in the neighbors’ favor and ordered Johnson’s home torn down.

See video of the teardown at CBS Boston.

In February, Johnson’s home was leveled in a matter of minutes. Johnson claimed that he tried to compromise with his neighbors during the feud, even offering to remove the part of his house that blocked their view. But ultimately, he said, he was just happy the ordeal was over. “I’m happy to be able to get on with my life and not have to be dealing with this miscarriage of justice that has truly been a real burden for 20 years,” he told CBS Boston. “There’s more to life than a house.”

See video of the teardown at CBS Boston.

Known as the “Dragon’s Head,” the 55,000-square-foot home in Southampton, Long Island, that fashion designer Calvin Klein scooped up in 2003 was something of a local legend. The original home was built in 1929, but a financier renovated it into oblivion in the ‘80s, adding spires and turrets everywhere. Residents long complained that the home was an eyesore in the middle of an otherwise desirable summer hotspot. So, Klein to the rescue.

In May 2009, Klein had the storied home completely brought down. But would he replace it with another mega-mansion? Not quite.

Klein replaced the over-the-top mansion with a much more understated -- and much smaller -- beach house.

Teardown crews crush the “Dragon’s Head.”

History? Who cares? Certainly not David Schwimmer. The former "Friends" star bought a townhouse in Manhattan’s East Village in 2010, one of the oldest on its block of East Sixth Street. The home was built in 1852, and New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission reportedly sent Schwimmer three letters warning him that the building was in line to receive landmark status. But because it hadn’t officially been named a landmark yet, Schwimmer was free to do with it what he wanted. And so he did.

In February (is this, like, the month of teardowns?), Schwimmer had the townhouse razed, angering preservationists and city officials. It’s not like it was a shock, though. He had put his Los Angeles mansion on the market months prior. His plan is to replace the building with a new, luxurious six-story home.

The original Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City was one of the most beloved arenas to baseball fans. It first opened in 1923. As far back as the 1980s, campaigns began calling for a new home for the New York Yankees baseball team, raising questions about safety conditions at the ballpark. Political wrangling and disputes over funding tied up the go-ahead for building a new stadium. But finally, construction began on a new stadium across the street, and the original Yankees’ home closed in 2008.

Close to a century of cherished memories were brought to the ground in 2010 when crews demolished the old, legendary Yankee Stadium. Baseball fans and others lobbied to save pieces of the famed building, but to no avail.

In its heyday: The original Yankee Stadium was one of the most popular venues in New York City.

After the fall: There was nothing left of the famed building once demolition crews were done with it in 2010.

Clark and Sharon Winslow of Belvedere, Calif., lived in an enviable $19 million mansion complete with a “resort-style health club.” There was just one little problem: The $4.2 million mansion next door was partially blocking their view of the water. So they came up with a pretty simple solution.

They bought the offending house at a foreclosure auction and tore it down in June. The couple planned to replace the 100-year-old house with a garden once demolition was complete. Even the neighbors were thrilled. “The view is really nice now!” neighbor Roger Snow told NBC Bay Area.

See video of the teardown on AOL Real Estate.

Hedge fund billionaire David Tepper purchased this Sagaponack, Long Island, estate in 2010 for $43.5 million, the most expensive transaction of the year in that area. But instead of enjoying the 6,000 square foot estate, he chose to go in a different direction.

He leveled it! Tepper not only destroyed the main house, but he razed the tennis court, filled the swimming pool and destroyed the guesthouse. His plan? Build an even bigger home.

Elin Nordgren, the former wife of golf superstar Tiger Woods, purchased this Palm Beach, Fla., mansion in March 2011 for $12 million. The home was originally built in the 1920s, but it was infested with termites and wasn't built up to modern hurricane codes. So should she try and fix it up? Nah.

Why not knock it down? Builders determined that it actually made more financial sense just to destroy the old house. The new home will come with ultra-modern amenities and include a wine room, gym and a theater.


See also:
Couple Tears Down $4.2 Million Manse for a Better View
Hamptons Couple Tears Down House Mid-Construction
Frank Lloyd Wright Group Fights to Save His Home in Phoenix From Demolition

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