When we moved to Chicago, our apartment overlooked the Chicago Sun-Times building on Wabash Avenue alongside the Chicago River. This plot was sold off for development with a large tower being built on its site. The construction that followed will be another post but this one relates to the demolition process. The view from our window provided a great view of the tearing down of the old building. It didn’t hurt that much of it was done during the Chicago winter, but I could watch from the comfort of our living room.
The building came down pretty quickly. Crews were using jack hammers to drill out the concrete flooring of each level and the machines that these were mounted on could also pull over the wall sections once cutting torches had taken out key elements of them. There was plenty of cutting going on with torches taken out structure and piping. This didn’t always go smoothly with more than one occasion when the cutting set fire to something and the fire department came to deal with it. A lot of water from the hoses would pour out of the spaces in the walls and, given the low temperatures, lots of icicles would result.
There weren’t too many floors in the building with the lowest levels being where the printing presses had once been. The whole thing came down quickly. It wasn’t an attractive structure so we weren’t so sad to see it go. However, since it was low, it gave us a good view across the river. The new building would be 92 floors tall and was going to take out a chunk of our view but such is the way of things when you live downtown in a city that is constantly evolving.
Removing the viaduct takes some specialized machinery. This one piece that was working near Pike Place Market had a couple of different attachments for the task. The process of switching heads was interesting in itself. A drilling head was used to punch holes through the deck of the viaduct and to remove the material from between the beams. There was also a head that was a cutting jaw. This would grab the side barriers and rip them from the structure. It would crunch through sections and break them in to manageable sizes. The effortless with which this seemingly solid structure was crunch into small pieces was intimidating!
With the new tunnel open under Seattle, the process of getting rid of the Alaska Way Viaduct is underway. Large sections have already gone and others are in the process of being taken own. From the viewing terrace at Pike Place Market, you can get a good view of the demolition at the moment. The sections that have gone are replaced with a space full of dust and rubble. Meanwhile, heavy machinery is in the process of drilling out the viaduct deck and the barriers. There is more to come on this one.
The rebuilding of SFO has included building a new tower. I wrote about the old versus the new a while back in this post. The new tower has now been commissioned and is operational. It is time for the old tower to be demolished. Fortunately, the airport invited people to visit before demolition started. The inside of the tower was looking a bit sad. The equipment had all been ripped out. I doubt much of it is getting reused since the new tower will already have been equipped with the latest generation of air traffic control gear. However, the surrounds for the old gear were still there looking rather skeletal.
A week later the process of everything coming down would start. Soon it will look a lot worse and then it will be gone forever. We got a fleeting glimpse of its last days. I hope someone takes some pictures as everything comes down to preserve the last days forever.
Every once in a while, I think about something that I was working on before I started blogging and wonder whether it would make a good post or not. Where we live in Chicago, we are very close to the Trump International Hotel and Tower. When we first moved here, it was the Chicago Sun-Times building. They demolished that and built the tower on the same site.
During the construction, I took a lot of pictures, first of the demolition and then the new construction. Building the tower would have made a good blog on its own if I had been blogging then. However, can’t turn back time! One thing I tried to do was take pictures from the same position on a regular basis to maybe make a time lapse. These pictures have languished for a long time. However, since Photoshop is now a lot more useful for making video, I brought all of the files in as layers to make a video. Since the position moved each time I took a picture despite my best efforts, Photoshop allowed me to align the layers and get tings (almost) back in register. Then some transitions and some music and we have a video. Hope you like it.