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. Design

    The Problem With 'Fast-Casual Architecture'

    Washington, D.C., has a huge new waterfront development that’s fun, popular, and easy on the eyes. Is anything wrong with that?

  2. Design

    Experimental City: The Sci-Fi Utopia That Never Was

    With solar energy, recycling, computers, and personal mass transit, the 1960s-era Minnesota Experimental City was a prescient and hopeful vision of the urban future. A new documentary tells its story.

  3. Transportation

    How a Satirical Call for Bikelash Became a Real, Invective-Laden Protest

    People carried signs reading “Nazi Lanes” at the Minneapolis anti-bike lane demonstration, which several political candidates attended.

  4. A man walks his bicycle beside a train in Paris.
    Maps

    Breaking Down the Many Ways Europe's City-Dwellers Get to Work

    One chart shows which cities do best when it comes to biking, walking, or taking public transit to work.

  5. Life

    Google Announces Plan to Turn Toronto Neighborhood into Living Laboratory

    The development is the company's first foray into what it has described as "rebuilding cities from the Internet up.”