Visitors to Japan are often struck by its clean streets and efficient transport, so it might not be such a surprise to see the country come up with an elegant solution to the messy problem of demolition. The Taisei Ecological Reproduction System (Tecorep) is designed to safely bring down buildings over 100 meters (328 feet) high, and involves bringing cranes inside the building to take apart each floor.

Temporary columns are used to prop up the roof, and are progressively lowered by jacks — the effect makes it look like the building is being constructed in reverse, coming down step by step. The technique has been used on the 139-meter (456-foot) Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, which closed down nearly two years ago.

As Hideki Ichihara of Taisei Corp told the Japan Times, "It's kind of like having a disassembly factory on top of the building and putting a big hat there, and then the building shrinks." The advantages of the technique go beyond safety and aesthetics, too — Tecorep cuts down noise by 17 to 23 decibels, reduces dust by up to 90 percent, and is said to be more environmentally friendly. For example, energy generated by the cranes' hydraulics can be used to power on-site equipment such as lights.