Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerising Demolition GIFs

By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on at

We tend to think of demolition as destructive: dynamite, dust, and plenty of fireworks. But as a New York Times article recently described, demolition in dense cities is, more and more often, a "stealth" operation, where a building is dismantled over a number of weeks.

The article describes the slow demolition of Tokyo's 40-story Akasaka Hotel, which was taken apart, piece by piece, at a rate of two stories every ten days. The building was built in 1982 by Kenzo Tange, a venerable modernist who is much-loved by historians and architects—part of the reason why the stealth demolition seemed like a good idea. “We want people not to really see the demolition work," the development manager told the NYT. “The noise level is 20 decibels lower than the conventional way, and there’s 90 per cent less dust leaving the area.”

Stealth aside, there are plenty of old-school demolitions still happening in the world, for better or worse (check out the 300-pounds-of-dynamite job that took place earlier this year in El Paso, below). After Architizer rounded up some of the best last week, we thought we'd add a few of our own favorites to the mix. There are dozens of great videos and GIFs out there, though, so post your own in the comments, below.


Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerizing Demolition GIFs

The 65-year-old New Frontier Hotel, in Las Vegas, was demolished in 2007—the occasion merited fireworks.


Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerizing Demolition GIFs

Cinergy Field, home to the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals since 1970s, was demolished in 1995. The entire explosion took only 37 seconds.


Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerizing Demolition GIFs

The Asarco Copper Smelt Smokestacks, in El Paso, required 300 pounds of dynamite to bring the 600-foot stacks down.


Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerizing Demolition GIFs

The Athlone Power Station cooling towers being demolished, in 2010, in Cape Town.


Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerizing Demolition GIFs

The demolition of a French public housing development, in Vitry-Sur-Seine, in 2010.


Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerizing Demolition GIFs

Another public housing development crumbles.


Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerizing Demolition GIFs

This unknown building was partially disassembled before it was demolished.


Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerizing Demolition GIFs

Another shot of a public housing demolition, from 2010, shows an unusual folding collapse.


Out With the Old: 10 Mesmerizing Demolition GIFs

Seattle's Kingdome Stadium, demolished in 2010, is still the largest structure to have ever been demolished with dynamite.