From the time kids are able to crawl in America, they’ve been introduced to vehicles related to building projects, including dump trucks and wrecking balls. However, a team in Japan has developed the Ecological Reproduction System, an innovative way to demolish buildings in an urban setting that is currently being put to use with Tokyo’s Hotel Akasaka.

The building once stood 460 feet tall, but the system has allowed the building to be demolished cleanly and efficiently, from the inside. That’s right, floor by floor, workers are taking down beams and walls and making the building shorter by the day. So far, the building has been capably shrunk from 460 feet to a little over 240 feet and, in six months, it’s expected to be demolished completely, with little added fuss or clean-up.

The benefits? Explosives may be quicker, but in urban environments especially, they can cause damage to surrounding buildings and make clean-up an extremely tough, extremely lengthy endeavor. It’s always cool to see governments figure out new and efficient ways to do things, and I can’t wait to see if the Ecological Reproduction System is eventually used elsewhere. Even if it is more expensive, there are certainly worse ways for buildings to go, like sinkholes.

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