5 Iconic Structures Demolished in the Last 20 Years

As well as keeping ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest structural engineering innovations, CCL also likes to pay respect to the structures that are making way for the new, by making the ultimate sacrifice. In this special report, CCL takes a look at some iconic buildings, bridges and stadiums that have been demolished over the last couple of decades…

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Wembley Stadium, London
Acknowledged around the world as The Home of Football, Wembley Stadium famously hosted the 1948 Olympics, the 1966 World Cup final, and a host of other iconic sporting events… as well as globally-hailed concerts including Live Aid. The Twin Towers – each identical and standing at 126 feet – were a sporting beacon, and a symbol of Great British heritage.

In 2003, the ‘Old Wembley’ was demolished… and substituted by Lord Foster’s new design. While this modern arena is yet another example of impressive engineering and successfully hosts such ‘new age’ fixtures such as American NFL games alongside traditional ever-presents like FA Cup Finals, many fans and visitors rue the loss of a certain ‘magic’ held by its architectural ancestor.


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John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 3, New York
This building was the embodiment of all things Pan Am and a striking symbol of '60s futurism. Opened at the start of the decade, the classic circular "Worldport" terminal design by Tippets-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton soon dated, with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey opting to replace it. Demolition ran from 2013 into 2015.


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Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, Tokyo
At 39 floors and 463 feet tall, this Tokyo hotel stood tall as an inspirational example of Japanese construction and ambition. Demolition in 2013 took a slightly different approach to the norm of explosives and wrecking balls, with the crew using a crane to painstakingly take the ‘saw-toothed’ hotel down floor-by-floor.


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Bay Bridge (East Span), Oakland, California
The East Span of the Bay Bridge – now 77 years old – that connected Oakland to San Francisco is currently undergoing a ‘slow-mo’ demolition. The bridge is being dismantled section-by-section, in the reverse order of its build in the mid-1930s. Its two-mile-long stretch means the demolition will take anywhere from three to five years, and will involve the removal of the cantilever section, the s-curve, and then the 504-foot and 288-foot truss spans. More than 58,000 tons of steel and 245,000 tons of concrete will be removed.


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Kingdome, Seattle
The Kingdome is one of Seattle’s most famous buildings and one of its briefest visitors. Built in 1976, the officially titled 'King County Multipurpose Domed Stadium' hosted Seahawks, Mariners and other events until time was called on its existence just 24 years later, mainly thanks to its falling roof tiles. The stadium's March 2000 implosion marked the largest building ever demolished by this method at the time.

Building on the Past
Of course, many of these structures had simply reached their sell-by date in terms of their architectural appeal or fundamental design. Saying that, one can't help but feel that the architectural landscape is a little less rich without their imposing presence. Sometimes, as innovators and engineers we can be a little too eager to demolish the old to make way for the new - when perhaps a little more TLC, at an earlier stage, would have made the world of difference.

At CCL, we’re just as passionate about repairing and strengthening older structures as we are about building the next gleaming skyscraper. And as huge advocates of early intervention, we offer a number of structural monitoring, strengthening and repair services that will help prolong the lifespan of any structure. Get in touch to find out more.