A falling block of concrete weighing several tons cleaved this building in two, making it look like Stonehenge.

Something went terribly wrong with a building demolition in Hamburg last week. Watch this footage of its middle section ripping a hole in the facade like Dig Dug burrowing into the earth:

The botched dismantling occurred in the Hammerbrook quarter near the city center. A type of mechanical rig that the Morgenpost identifies as a "Longfrontbagger" was jabbing at the roof of the empty structure – whose intact self is preserved on Google Maps – to bring it down so a new office structure can move into the site. But somebody at Wiwa Wilko Wagner, which is not a jolly brotherhood of Black Forest elves but a construction firm, misjudged on the poking. The result was that a block of concrete weighing several tons dislodged from the top and plowed down the building, taking the lower floors with it in a crashing domino effect.

Reports from the scene describe hours-long traffic hell caused by billowing dust and AWOL rubble, although a couple of well-placed stairwells inside the so-called "Saxon Castle" kept the structure from completely disintegrating. As of this week the authorities were debating what to do with the odd-looking remains that, to quote one source, were cleaved in two like "a Giant make a Karate Punch right throug the Building." Construction crews expressed a desire to tear it down "very gently," a strategy that may be too little too late but nevertheless sounds smart.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of the Eiffel Tower with the words "Made for Sharing" projected on it
    Life

    How France Tries to Keep English Out of Public Life

    France has a long history of using official institutions to protect the French language from outside influence. Still, English keeps working its way in.

  2. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  3. An illustration of a turtle with a city on its shell
    Transportation

    Why Speed Kills Cities

    U.S. cities are dropping urban speed limits in an effort to boost safety and lower crash rates. But the benefits of less-rapid urban mobility don’t end there.  

  4. Berlin's Friedrichstrasse will test a car ban starting in October 2019.
    Transportation

    Why Berlin’s Approach to Car Bans Is a Little Different

    The German capital will experiment with banning cars on two popular retail streets—but it’s being notably more cautious than its European counterparts.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×