Top 10 Biggest Demolition Projects of All Time


Some buildings can take years to construct. As civilization grows and the technology improves, building designs have

become increasingly intricate and larger in scale. Towering structures are erected in closer proximity to other large buildings creating fantastic skylines. When these titanic structures become obsolete it takes careful planning and flawless execution to bring them down. The advancements in controlled demolitions provide an efficient alternative to manual labor. These are the top 10 demolition projects of all time.

10. New Frontier Hotel

New Frontier Hotel

The New Frontier Hotel and Casino was the second resort to be opened on the Las Vegas strip. Built in 1942 and going through a few name changes, the New Frontier operated for over 60 years. It boasted a 41,000 square foot casino floor and 986 guestrooms spread over 16 floors. Standing at 57.44 meters it was far from the tallest building on the strip but its demolition required a lot of planning and preparation. On November 13th, 2007, over 1,000 pounds of explosives were detonated and the New Frontier Hotel crumbled to the ground.

9. Stardust Casino

Stardust Casino Biggest Demolition Projects of All Time

The Stardust Hotel and Casino was a well known Las Vegas landmark. Originally built in 1958, the Stardust had a 32 story tower added to it in 1991. In November 1996, after 48 years of operation, the Stardust closed its doors for good. Preparations for demolition were made and on the morning of March 14, 2007, there were fireworks accompanied by a countdown that terminated with a series of explosions. 428 pounds of explosives were detonated and the Stardust’s was no more. Echelon Place would later replace the Stardust.

8. Landmark Tower

Landmark Tower

The 30 floor Landmark Building was built between 1952 and 1957. Upon completion, it stood as the tallest building in Fort Worth until 1974. In 1990, the Landmark was left vacant. It was purchased in 2004 with the intention of turning it into a residential building but this proved to be a pipe dream as the costs of upgrades and conversions were too high – unfortunately they didn’t consider flying out Buxton Water, the UK’s leading hydrodemolition contractors – the concrete could have been stripped, whilst retaining the supporting structure, significantly reducing conversion costs. It was decided that the Landmark Tower would be demolished. The plan was to implode the building into its 2 level basement and into trenches that were built on either side of the building. 364 pounds of explosive material was put in place and on March 18, 2006, the button was pressed and 13 seconds later the Landmark was down.

7. Red Road Flats

Red Road Flats

Not all controlled demolitions go as planned. The demolition of the Glasgow’s Red Road Flats is an example of this. The original plan was to demolish the 6 run-down towers in a single controlled demolition but after the detonations occurred 2 of the towers remained precariously standing. This caused a bit of embarrassment and also kept about 2,500 people who lived in the exclusion zone away from their houses for longer than anticipated. The razing of the 2 partially remaining buildings was completed using heavy equipment.

6. Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka

Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka

The opulent Prince Hotel Akasaka in Tokyo was opened in 1955 with its final composition being completed in 1982. It stood out in appearance due to its “saw-toothed façade” and laminated aluminum. The 40 story hotel was closed and slated for demolition following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan. The building was dismantled manually by working from the top down. The top floors were used as a staging area while the floor below would be demolished. The top floors would then be slowly jacked down to the next level where the process would begin on the next floor.

5. Elwha Dam

Elwha Dam

The removal of the 108 foot tall Elwha Dam was part of a plan to restore the Elwha River and its ecosystem. On June 1st, 2011, the demolition began with the draining of the reservoir. Temporary diversion channels were built and excavators began chipping away at the massive dam wall. That is one reason to get an easy excavator hire! In August 2014, the bottom 30 feet of the dam wall was blasted away completing the world’s largest dam removal project. The dam removal’s intended effect have been realized as salmon, plants and animals have returned and are flourishing. The millions of cubic meters of sediment that was trapped behind the dam have rebuilt beaches at the mouth of the Elwha River.

4. JL Hudson Department Store

JL Hudson Department Store

JL Hudson’s was once the tallest department store in the United States. Construction began in 1911 with the first of 12 stages. The last stage was completed in 1946 and the 439 foot tall JL Hudson department store stood until 1998. It was a delicate demolition due to the close proximity of surrounding buildings. The planning was further complicated by a lack of structural drawings but the geniuses at Controlled Demolitions Inc. were able to figure out a way to have the building collapse within its footprint. 4,118 explosive charges were strategically placed in the building in 1,100 locations. On October 24, 1998, the 2,728 pounds of explosives were detonated in sequence and the one time Detroit icon was reduced to rubble.

3. Kingdome

Kingdome Biggest Demolition Projects of All Time

The Kingdome in Seattle was one of the largest buildings by volume (nearly 20 million cubic meters) to be demolished by explosives. The Kingdome’s construction began in 1972 and was completed in 1976 with a price tag of $67 million dollars. It served as the venue for the Seattle Seahawks, Mariners, Super Sonics and the Sounders and had a 66,000 person capacity. Through the 1990s, the Kingdome’s suitability for both football and baseball were questioned and plans for new venues were made. The Kingdome fell into obsolescence and was demolished using 4,700 pounds of explosives on March 22, 2000. The Kingdome is one of the top 10 biggest demolition projects of all time.

2. Singer Building

Singer Building

The 612 foot tall Singer Building stood as a 47 story beacon of the New York skyline for 60 years. Serving as Singer’s headquarters it was built in 1908 and was briefly the tallest skyscraper in the world. Singer decided to move their headquarters in the early 1960s and the Singer Building was purchased by US Steel. It was the new owner’s intention to demolish the structure and replace it with the 54 story One Liberty Plaza. There were attempts to have the building preserved but they were unsuccessful and demolition began in 1967. It took a year for the Singer Building to be manually dismantled making it one of the top 10 biggest demolition projects of all time.

1. Sears Merchandise Center

Sears Merchandise Center Biggest Demolition Projects of All Time

The Sears Merchandise Center was constructed in 1918 by a force of over 2000 laborers. The massive 14 story icon stood as the centerpiece of Northeast Philadelphia until its closure in 1990. The 25 million cubic foot structure was then slated for demolition. 12,000 pounds of explosives were packed into 11,000 holes and the stage was set for one heck of a show. The implosion was a smashing success with the building collapsing as planned. It was the largest demolition of its kind and one of the top 10 biggest demolition projects of all time.

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