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New skyscraper demolition method shrinks building from inside out

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A new building-demolition technique being used in Japan takes the phrase "inside job" to a whole new level -- literally. Controlled building destruction, especially of skyscrapers, often involves an implosion, which levels the building in a matter of seconds. But a new method of safely bringing down skyscrapers can best be seen in a new time-lapse video of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, which stands more than 450 feet tall. "Razing a Skyscraper the Ecological Way" shows the hotel, which is located in Tokyo, shrinking before your eyes as workers take it apart from the inside.

Taisei Corporation, the company behind this new demolition process known as Taisei Ecological Reproduction System, or Tecorep, advertises the method as environmentally friendly because it reduces dust exposure by more than 90 percent. In addition, Tecorep cuts down on noise considerably.

How does Tecorep work? Temporary columns are set up indoors to hold up the roof of the existing building. Then jacks lower the columns as higher floors are disassembled. This action creates the effect of shrinking the building from the top down.

A commenter on YouTube wrote, "That's awesome. Everyone should be doing that instead of destroying resources with explosives." Another person, who says he once stayed at the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, said the hotel was cool in the '70s but was probably in much need of updating due to it not meeting current earthquake standards and not being contemporary. He adds, "Cool and iconic as it was, it would apparently simply have cost much more to fully restore it than to tear it down and replace with a new building."

As impressive and visually stimulating as it can be to watch the implosion of a skyscraper, it's even more impressive when companies come up with ways to save the environment while improving on building structures.

[Related: How innovative 'earth bag architecture' is helping Haiti rebuild]

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