The 10 Tallest Buildings Ever Demolished

  • 03 Jul 2014
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  • Articles Editor's Choice
Savoy-Plaza Hotel, New York City. Image © Wikimedia

The following list of the ten tallest buildings ever demolished, by Michael Aynsley, was originally published on BuzzBuzzHome.

Before we get to the countdown, a caveat: this list only considers buildings that were demolished on purpose by their owners. If it included all tall structures that are no longer standing, number one, two and four would be occupied by the three World Trade Center buildings tragically destroyed on September 11th, 2001.

10. Savoy-Plaza Hotel, New York City

Savoy-Plaza Hotel, New York City. Image © New York Architecture Images
Savoy-Plaza Hotel, New York City. Image © New York Architecture Images

Height: 446 feet, 33 stories
Completed: 1930
Demolished: 1964 – to make way for the General Motors Building.
Interesting fact:
A scene in episode one, season two of Mad Men has Don and Betty Draper celebrating Valentine’s Day with drinks and room service at The Savoy-Plaza Hotel in 1962, two years before it was demolished in real-life.

9. Ardmore Park Block One, Two and Three, Singapore

Height: 449 feet, 36 stories
Completed:
1978
Demolished:
2009 – to make way for a new condo development.
Interesting fact:
The Ardmore Park Block buildings were a set of identical triplets. All three were the exact same height and shared the exact same bland design.

Ardmore Park Block One, Two and Three, Singapore. Image © Imgur

8. Hennessy Centre, Hong Kong

Height: 458 feet, 41 stories
Completed: 1983
Demolished2008 – because the owner of the building wanted to expand the mall that the Hennessy Centre shared its lot with.
Interesting fact:
The unattractive, mostly concrete building had a short 15-year life. Probably because it was unattractive.

Hennessy Centre, Hong Kong. Image © SkyscraperPage

7. Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, Tokyo

Height: 463 feet, 39 floors
Completed: 1982
Demolished: 2013 – as the New York Times explains it, the hotel was a victim of the vagaries of commercial real estate in Tokyo, “where high property values, changing design standards and other factors have conspired to create a bull market for .”
Interesting fact:
The demolition of Tokyo’s Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka was unique in that it didn’t involve wrecking balls or explosives. A crane was used to take out all the beams, concrete and paneling from the inside — bit by bit and floor by floor. So, to any observer who had the patience to stand around and watch the weeks-long event, it would have appeared as though the building was slowly disappearing. Luckily you needn’t put yourself through that sort of tedium. The building disassembly was documented with a video camera and the film has been sped up for your viewing pleasure. Watch it here.

Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, Tokyo. Image © Wikimedia

6. The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

Height: 465 feet, 31 stories
Completed: 1993
Demolished: 2009 – to make way for much-need and more lucrative office space. The building was located on one of Hong Kong’s most valuable business sites.
Interesting fact:
The hotel was packed during the 1997 British return of Hong Kong to China, but occupancy fell to three per cent six years later during the SARS outbreak.

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong. Image © Panoramio

5. City Investing Building, New York City

Height: 487 feet, 33 stories
Completed: 1908
Demolished: 1968 – to make way for One Liberty Plaza.
Interesting
fact: The City Investing Building was part of a cluster of buildings (which included the Singer Buildingthe Hudson Terminal and the Equitable Building) that were all among the tallest in the world during the early part of the 20th century, making this portion of the New York City skyline one of the most photographed scenes of the time.

City Investing Building, New York City. Image © Wikimedia
City Investing Building, New York City. Image © Wikimedia

4. One Meridian Plaza, Philadelphia

Height: 492 feet, 38 stories
Completed: 1972
Demolished: 1999 – after suffering extensive damage from a fire that broke out on the 22nd floor in 1991.
Interesting fact
For eight years after the fire, One Meridian Plaza sat vacant and damaged in the center of Philadelphia’s business district. The building was caught in litigation between the owners and the insurance company over how much the insurers would pay the owners and how demolition would proceed.

One Meridian Plaza, Philadelphia. Image © Kukulu21 via Flickr

3. Deutsche Bank, New York City

Height: 517 feet, 39 stories
Completed: 1974
Demolished: 2011 – the Deutsche Bank building was heavily damaged due to flying debris during the September 11th attacks. It was eventually torn down to make way for Five World Trade Center.
Interesting fact:
 The building was designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, the same architecture firm that designed the Empire State Building.

Deutsche Bank, New York City. Image © Wikimedia

2. Morrison Hotel, Chicago

Height: 526 feet, 45 stories
Completed: 1925
Demolished1965 – to make room for the First National Bank Building (now Chase Tower).
Interesting fact
The Morrison Hotel was the first building in the world outside of New York City to have more than 40 floors.

Morrison Hotel, Chicago. Image © SkyscraperPage
Morrison Hotel, Chicago. Image © SkyscraperPage

1. Singer Building, New York City

Height: 612 feet, 47 stories
Completed: 1908
Demolished: 1968 – to make way for One Liberty Plaza.
Interesting fact:
 For a very brief period, the Singer Building was the tallest building in the world, until 1909 when it was surpassed by the Metropolitan Life Tower.

Singer Building, New York City. Image © Shorpy

Data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the recognized authority on skyscraper height, served as the primary source.

Cite: Michael Aynsley. "The 10 Tallest Buildings Ever Demolished" 03 Jul 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 31 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=522991>
  • Mateusz Siwiak

    1. WTC :)

  • Gordon

    Why include Deutsche Bank if not WTC?

    • Mihail

      Because it was a terrorist attack, I would’t comment if it is terrorist attack, biggest lie of the century or idk what… Demolished and destroyed are two different words.

  • Andrew

    Why aren’t the 3 World Trade Center Towers at number 1??

    • Jay

      Check out the opening paragraph!

  • SUGGESTION

    Very interesting. In a similar vein, it would also be interesting to see a top 10 list of largest structural failures in architecture.

  • Mikey

    I wonder how Pruitt-Igoe compare in this listing. I don’t recall how tall they were, but their intentional destruction is iconic.