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Urban Demolition II

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1

East side of 1815 North Fort Myer Drive, April 12, 2003.In 2008, the 11-story building at 1815 North Fort Myer Drive in the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia (seen at right in 2003) was demolished in order to make way for a new 35-story building at 1812 North Moore Street, developed by Monday Properties.  Plans for the new building were in motion as early as 2005, when The Washington Post ran an article about the proposed building and its controversial new height.  The Schumin Web ran an article in the Journal about the development in April 2005, expressing a favorable opinion about the proposed building. The building received final approval in December 2007, and work at the site started happening in early 2008.  The existing building was closed, and the process of deconstruction began.  A fence appeared around the site, asbestos abatement was completed, the curtain wall was removed, and then the reinforced concrete frame was dismantled. By mid-October, the building was gone, and the work of clearing what remained at the site was underway.  By the end of October, the demolition was complete, and the demolition contractor, Wrecking Corporation of America, had vacated the site.  I believe that deconstruction was selected over implosion or otherwise due to the location of the Rosslyn Metro station and related subway tunnels less than a block away, and an interest in recycling building materials such as concrete and steel.  Work underway in the later stages of the project appeared to confirm this belief. This photo set follows the process of removing 1815 North Fort Myer Drive at various stages.  This set is arranged chronologically, as I visited Rosslyn to inspect demolition progress on nine different dates.  Click the individual images to see larger versions of each image, as well as a description.  Floors are counted from the west (Fort Myer Drive) side, with the level that the main entrance is located on counted as the first floor.  I do not know if this is how floors were counted when the building was operational.


April 11, 2008

On April 11, 2008, 1815 North Fort Myer Drive was closed and all of the tenants had moved out.  A fence had been erected around the site, but the building seemed otherwise fully intact.

April 11, 2008: East side of 1815 North Fort Myer Drive. April 11, 2008: Fence erected in front of the building's North Moore Street side.

June 1, 2008

On June 1, the building appeared to be well into the process of asbestos abatement.  Windows were covered with plastic, what appeared to be air vents were protruding from various windows, and crews in protective gear were working on the building’s exterior.

June 1, 2008: Plastic tube protruding from a window on the building's east side. June 1, 2008: Building during asbestos abatement phase, seen from the southeast. June 1, 2008: Crews in protective gear work on the outside of the building's east side. June 1, 2008: Street level during asbestos abatement phase, North Moore Street side.

June 13, 2008

A little less than two weeks later, on June 13, the hazardous materials abatement process appeared to be just about finished.  There were still crews in protective gear working on the building’s exterior, however, all of the window glass had been removed, and all non-load-bearing partitions within the building appeared to have been demolished.

June 13, 2008: View from the southeast.  Note that all the glass on the building is gone. June 13, 2008: East facade, devoid of windows. June 13, 2008: North Moore Street facade, after asbestos abatement has been completed. June 13, 2008: Crews in protective gear continue to work on the building's exterior, east side.

August 6, 2008

On August 6, demolition was underway in earnest, with the removal of the curtain wall in progress.  The building was still at its full height at this point, but the top four floors, as well as the second and third floors, now lacked a curtain wall.  The tools for the final demolition had appeared by this point, as a crane, wooden covers to help contain dust, as well as dumpsters to hold recyclables and waste had appeared on site.  Additionally, sidewalk sheds were constructed on both sides of the site, along North Fort Myer Drive and North Moore Street.  A sidewalk shed also protected pedestrians walking to the skywalk over North Fort Myer Drive from Rosslyn Center.

August 6, 2008: A worker removes columns from the curtain wall, east side. August 6, 2008: Southeast corner during curtain wall removal process. August 6, 2008: Mid-level floor interior, viewed from the southeast. August 6, 2008: West facade during curtain wall removal.
August 6, 2008: Southwest corner of building during curtain wall removal. August 6, 2008: Plaza in front of main entrance on North Fort Myer Drive. August 6, 2008: West side of building during curtain wall removal process. August 6, 2008: Southwest corner during curtain removal process.
August 6, 2008: A worker uses a crowbar on part of the curtain wall on the building's seventh floor, west side. August 6, 2008: First through fourth floors, west side. August 6, 2008: Curtain wall prior to removal, west side. August 6, 2008: Perimeter fence along North Fort Myer Drive, with warning signs posted.
August 6, 2008: First through fourth floors, west side. August 6, 2008: View from the southeast during curtain wall removal process. August 6, 2008: Southeast corner of upper floors. August 6, 2008: Southeast corner, middle floors.

September 7, 2008

Returning to the site a month later, the building was slightly shorter.  The eleventh floor had been completely removed, and the tenth floor was nearly gone, with only a few concrete beams remaining, and demolition of the concrete slab that held the tenth floor was underway.  Large plywood covers were used to contain dust in the area where demolition was actively occurring, and these would change position throughout the demolition process.  The sidewalk sheds at street level had been painted blue, and traffic around the site moved unimpeded by the demolition work.

September 7, 2008: Plywood covers help control dust during the demolition of the tenth floor slab. September 7, 2008: West facade.  The building now stands nine stories tall. September 7, 2008: Plywood covers help control dust during the demolition of the tenth floor slab. September 7, 2008: West side of building, showing the street.
September 7, 2008: Sidewalk shed.  Note the blue color. September 7, 2008: Multiple levels on the building's west side. September 7, 2008: Eighth, ninth (covered), and the remains of the tenth floor, west side. September 7, 2008: Plywood covers help control dust during the demolition of the tenth floor slab.
September 7, 2008: Plaza in front of the building's North Fort Myer Drive entrance. September 7, 2008: Southwest corner, showing the seventh, eighth, and ninth floors. September 7, 2008: Portion of building interior, looking northeast. September 7, 2008: Dumpsters stationed on the west side of the building.  The blue dumpster (at right) is being used to hold scrap metal salvaged from the deconstruction.
September 7, 2008: Sidewalk shed at Rosslyn Center, protecting pedestrians walking between Rosslyn Center and the skywalk over North Fort Myer Drive. September 7, 2008: Building interior, third floor. September 7, 2008: Southwest corner of building, showing eighth and ninth floors. September 7, 2008: Sidewalk shed at Rosslyn Center, protecting pedestrians walking between Rosslyn Center and the skywalk over North Fort Myer Drive.
September 7, 2008: Fourth floor, facing northwest. September 7, 2008: Northeast corner, facing south. September 7, 2008: Sidewalk shed at Rosslyn Center, protecting pedestrians walking between Rosslyn Center and the skywalk over North Fort Myer Drive. September 7, 2008: Southwest corner of building, showing eighth and ninth floors.
September 7, 2008: South side of building, showing eighth and ninth floors. September 7, 2008: Building interior, third floor, facing northwest. September 7, 2008: Southwest corner of building, showing eighth and ninth floors. September 7, 2008: East side of building, showing second, third, and fourth floors.
September 7, 2008: Southwest corner of building, showing the corner column, and the stub at the tenth floor slab. September 7, 2008: South and east facades, viewed from the southeast. September 7, 2008: Plywood covers help control dust during the demolition of the tenth floor slab. September 7, 2008: Plywood covers help control dust during the demolition of the tenth floor slab.
September 7, 2008: Southeast corner of building, showing seventh, eighth, and ninth floors. September 7, 2008: Horizontal and vertical reinforced concrete beams, and undersides of floor slabs. September 7, 2008: A Metrobus picks up passengers waiting in the sidewalk shed. September 7, 2008: Building as viewed from the north.  Note heavy equipment working on the tenth floor slab.
September 7, 2008: South side of building, showing the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth floors. September 7, 2008: West end of third floor showing the interior.  Plywood covers an opening in the wall. September 7, 2008: Plywood covers over the ninth floor. September 7, 2008: Southeast corner.
September 7, 2008: Southeast corner. September 7, 2008: East facade. September 7, 2008: Southeast corner, showing eighth and ninth floors. September 7, 2008: Southwest corner.  Plywood prevents the spread of dust from floor slab demolition.

September 27, 2008

By September 27, the building was noticeably shorter than it was a few weeks prior, having come down to six stories above Fort Myer Drive, and down to three stories on its north side.  Demolition was underway on two floors at once on the south side of the building.  The curtain wall was still in place at the first floor level on the building’s north, east, and south sides.

September 27, 2008: Protective covers over vents on a Dominion Virginia Power substation. September 27, 2008: Rubble on a floor slab on the building's west side. September 27, 2008: West side of building.  Note that the building is down to three floors on the far north end. September 27, 2008: Second and third floors viewed from the west.
September 27, 2008: Southeast corner of building viewed through metal screening on the Rosslyn Center sidewalk shed. September 27, 2008: West facade. September 27, 2008: Chunks of concrete dangle from steel rebar during floor slab demolition. September 27, 2008: Southwest corner of the building, showing the third through sixth floors.  Demolition is actively underway on the south end of the fifth and sixth floors.
September 27, 2008: Canopy leading to the main entrance on the North Fort Myer Drive side. September 27, 2008: Third floor slab.  Note the large amount of water on top of the slab.  Water was used extensively throughout the process to control dust. September 27, 2008: Southeast corner of building, with plywood covers used to contain dust. September 27, 2008: West side of building, showing plaza.
September 27, 2008: Southeast corner, showing third through sixth floors. September 27, 2008: Large hole in a concrete wall previously covered by plywood, at the third floor level. September 27, 2008: Southeast corner of the building, showing the stub of the corner column. September 27, 2008: Heavy equipment stationed on the fourth floor slab.
September 27, 2008: Stubs of reinforced concrete beams, having been truncated during earlier demolition. September 27, 2008: Southeast corner, showing fifth and sixth floors. September 27, 2008: East end of second floor. September 27, 2008: Southeast corner.
September 27, 2008: Southeast corner, showing stub of corner column. September 27, 2008: Southeast corner, showing fourth, fifth, and sixth floors. September 27, 2008: South and east sides of the building, as seen from across North Moore Street. September 27, 2008: Concrete dangles through what appears to be the former elevator shaft at the fifth and sixth floor levels.
September 27, 2008: Heavy equipment stationed on the fourth floor slab. September 27, 2008: A Metrobus sits out of service at the bus stop next to the sidewalk shed. September 27, 2008: Stubs of reinforced concrete beams, having been truncated during earlier demolition. September 27, 2008: Southeast corner, showing third through sixth floors.
September 27, 2008: Southeast corner, showing third through sixth floors. September 27, 2008: Southeast corner, as viewed through the sidewalk shed screening at Rosslyn Center. September 27, 2008: Southwest corner, showing fifth and sixth floors. September 27, 2008: Southeast corner, showing fourth, fifth, and sixth floors.

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Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1